Every summer of my life, I have vacationed with my family in Wellfleet, Cape Cod. Like any good family tradition, it's made up of a series of minute pleasures. For me those start with the trip up from New York City, which we always do the same way.
A Friday night in late August: Rush to finish packing, slam a few slices of pizza (Michelangelo's replaced by Two Boots replaced by Bleecker Street Pizza), and get a late start on the road. Battle summer traffic out of the city, stop at a gas station around Darien, CT, and finally pull into my grandmother's house in Wallingford. Accept kisses and offer of cookies, don a UConn Basketball Camp 92' t-shirt, fall into bed.
6 a.m Saturday: Be roused off of the twin bed outfitted with green and white polka dot sheets, pretend to brush my teeth, accept Drake's coffee cake, bananas, cookies, and fall into the car.
8:00 a.m.: Wake up in the back seat to see the parking lot of the Bickford's in Seakonk, MA. It's a big parking lot, and already the air feels different. Fresher. Scented with pine. We don't always stop for breakfast (the bathrooms are obligingly in the front, so travelers can pop in and clandestinely make use of them) but when we do, there is only one thing to get: a dutch baby.
I like to think of these as a popover-crepe hybrid. You pour a simple, eggy batter into a wide skillet, pop it in the oven, and 20 minutes later you have a puffed, bowl-shaped pancake that's just waiting to be topped with sugar. Some people eat dutch babies with lemon, and sure, I won't stop you. But I like mine New England style—topped with fresh blueberries and a little maple syrup.
Before last week I had never made one of these sweets at home—I think I assumed Bickford's had a lock down on the recipe—but now I can't stop. A dutch baby needs to be served and eaten quickly (never a problem for me) but otherwise it's the perfect dish for brunch. Simple to make, and delightfully unique.