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Fall has come and gone so much faster than I wanted.  There are a dozen stagnant items on my to-do list that have been glaring at me since September.  They’re a constant, looming reminder of how quickly time has gotten away from me these past few months.  Work has been beyond hectic.  But with grades submitted today and a job offer for my first graduated grad student, I am beginning to feel like I’m getting back in control of my to-do list…

…even if only temporarily.  This winter break could not have come at a better time, as I am bracing for an awful January and February.  I’ll have four weeks of travel and a week of jury duty in the first six weeks of the new year, on top of four major proposal deadlines in that same span.

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But for now, I’m breathing deep and unwinding.  I’m drinking lots of wine while binge-watching The Good Wife.  I’m getting a 90 minute massage tomorrow morning.  I’m going to cook up a storm this Christmas.  And in the meantime, I also want to share this recipe with you.

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I have always love Dutch Baby pancakes for their custardy-yet-airy texture, not far removed from a cream puff.  And I’ve always loved their subtle sweetness — a barely-sweet batter, just a light dusting of powdered sugar, and a squeeze of lemon.  So I thought I’d push the Dutch Baby envelope even further from sugary-sweet breakfast, and turn this one into a savory dinner.  And, oh, how well it works!

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This Stilton & beurre noisette Dutch Baby is all about balance of flavors.  There’s the sharp pungency of the Stilton, the warm hazelnutty beurre noisette (browned butter), the silky sweet winter squash, all finished with a delicate sage whipped cream and tart cranberries.  There’s a lot going on, and there’s a lot of prep work ahead of time, but all the components fit together like the perfect symphony.  This Dutch Baby is a thoughtful and beautiful wintertime dinner for home, and it also makes an intricate, impressive holiday party contribution.

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Stilton & Beurre Noisette Dutch Baby with Squash and Sage Whipped Cream

Makes two 9-10″ Dutch Babies | Start 3 hours ahead

For the Beurre Noisette – can be made up to 2 weeks ahead

  • 1/4 C unsalted butter
  1. Melt butter in a light-colored skillet (so you can monitor the color change) over medium heat.  After about 5 minutes, butter will begin to foam.  Stir frequently from hereon, scraping bottom to prevent scorching.
  2. Monitor color change constantly, as the butter can turn from golden to burnt in a blink of an eye.  Pull from heat immediately when butter has become light brown and smells like toasted nuts.
  3. Drain butter into a small bowl through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, to separate out the dark brown bits of butterfat.
  4. You may use the melted brown butter immediately.  If you make it ahead, let it cool and solidify before covering with plastic wrap and storing in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

For the Squash – can be made a few days ahead

  • 2 C winter squash, your favorite variety, sliced (1/4″ thick) or cubed (1/2″ cubes)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.  Line a baking sheet with foil, parchment paper, or a silpat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss squash in olive oil and salt to coat evenly.
  3. Place squash onto prepared baking sheet and roast in oven for 30-45 minutes, or until fork-tender.
  4. If making ahead, let cool, then store in air-tight container in refrigerator up to 4 days.

For the Whipped Cream – can be made 10-12 hours in advance

  • 1 C heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 C finely-chopped fresh sage leaves
  1. Place cream and sage into a medium stockpot, and bring to boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Immediately remove from heat upon reaching a boil, and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Cover with lid, and refrigerate until cold.
  4. Remove sage leaves, then pour infused cream into bowl of stand mixer.
  5. Use balloon whisk attachment on medium to medium-high speed, and whip until cream forms stiff peaks, about 5-7 minutes
  6. If making ahead, store in air-tight container in refrigerator for 10-12 hours.

For the Dutch Baby

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 8 eggs
  • 3/4 C whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced rosemary or thyme
  • 5 Tbsp beurre noisette (see above)
  • 1/4 C crumbled Stilton cheese
  • a few whole sage leaves, optional
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, optional
  • pinch Kosher salt, optional
  • cranberries, optional
  • chopped hazelnuts, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine flour, salt, and white pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, parsley, and thyme.  Once the wet ingredients are combined, whisk them into the dry ingredients, removing lumps and incorporating thoroughly.
  4. Melt beurre noisette in two 9-10″ heavy ovenproof skillets (can also use one 6″ and one 10-12″ skillet) over medium-low heat.  Swirl butter to coat bottom and sides of skillets.
  5. Pour batter into the skillets, then bake in oven for 25 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare crispy sage leaf garnish by heating olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Place sage leaves into hot oil, and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side or until crisp but not discolored.  Drain on paper towel and lightly salt with Kosher salt.
  7. To serve, garnish Dutch babies with roasted squash, sage-infused whipped cream, crispy sage leaves (optional), cranberries (optional), and chopped hazelnuts (optional).
  8. Serve immediately.

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