The King of Kitchenware: The Cast Iron Pan

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one kitchen utensil, what would it be? For me, it would be my cast iron skillet – no question.

My cast iron skillet was the first pan I bought when I got married in 1971, because I knew that it would be with me no matter what happens! After more than 45 years of use, I am convinced that you would have to go out of your way to ruin cast iron. As long as you don’t use soap to clean it and dry it immediately after cleaning, a cast iron pan will be with you forever.

After cleaning, I dry my pan on a stove-top burner, re-season it with a little canola oil, and let it cool before I store it away.

It is no secret that cast iron pans make the juiciest crispy skinned chicken and the best sear on a rib eye steak! But aside from cuts of meat, they are also perfect for making a delightful, puffy pancake called a Dutch Baby. This is a great treat that rises just like Yorkshire pudding. Puffy and showy, it’s visually enticing as well as delicious with a custardy flavor.

 

Cast Iron Pan Recipe – Dutch Baby Pancake

Serves 4

Note that ingredients must be at room temperature since they are going into a VERY hot pan.

Batter:

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided in two, room temperature
  • 2 large Fuji Apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Confectioners sugar for finishing

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°.

For the batter, whisk eggs, cream, flour, vanilla, salt, and ½ tsp. cinnamon in a medium bowl until smooth – set aside.

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a 10” cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add apple slices and sprinkle with brown sugar and ½ tsp. cinnamon. Cook, tossing often, until apple is coated and softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Wipe out skillet and heat in oven until very hot, about 20 minutes. Carefully add remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter to the hot skillet, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Add cooked apple to center of skillet; pour batter over. Bake until pancake is puffed and golden brown around the edges and the center is set but still custardy, between 12 and 15 minutes.

Serve drizzled with apple cider syrup (below) and/or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

 

Apple Cider Syrup

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Bring cider, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon to a boil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Reduce heat and boil gently, whisking occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 30 to 45 minutes.