Snow falls in Utah. The license plates proudly proclaim it’s the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” There are times when it is deep enough to form the framework of some memorable “big fish” stories. I walked the mile and a half to school in snow up to my thighs. Actually, I really did.
With all this snow? What do you learn to do? Ski, of course. My parents took us to the, for the locals mundane, ski resorts. You know the ones: Park City, Alta, Snowbird, etc. At Alta, our resort of choice once we had completed lessons, I did the bunny hill, advanced to Sugarloaf, and other than once, is the run where I stayed.
I am not fond of two things – height and speed. That is a deadly combination in skiing, as the activity is not well accomplished without them. Short of herringboning your way up the mountain, you need to sit on a lift chair or tram, dangling well above the ground to reach the top of the run. Once there, unless you do a lot of sidestepping, you’re going to go downhill rather quickly.
One time, at the bottom of the Sugarloaf run-off, I remember being tucked down and going full out (I think it was the end of the day run; horse heading for the barn) and watching the tips of my skis “chattter.” This was immediately before I remember a big “whump” and looking at the sky right above my supine body [Körper, in German]. Apparently one of the tips had been in the downstroke of the chatter when it encountered a hole caused by someone walking on the groomed run area. The tip dug in and I flipped, without even being aware. Interesting sensation, one which I will eschew whenever possible.
Not content to
torture expose us to skiing on our home continent, we pursued life on the slopes in Europe. Austria, Switzerland, Germany, we’ve skiied the best of your slopes, me always with the same trepidation.
After I left home for college, I said goodbye to my stem turns and mogul aversion and haven’t been on skis since. A man I dated during college once asked if I wanted to go skiing with him – it was a passion and he was on ski patrol. Hm, no thanks.
Many years later, my friend introduced me to a recipe she called Dutch Babies, a puffy pancake baked in the oven, then quickly topped and consumed before it deflated. Protein rich, it was one of the ways to eat eggs back in the days when I really didn’t like the taste.
For some reason, and I cannot tell you why other than to surmise that the powdered sugar I generally topped it with reminded me of snow, I associate the recipe with skiing. It could also be that they are alternately known as German Pancakes, and thus a double link to the slopes of my youth. Whatever the reason, these are a fun breakfast treat, especially as you can forget about the pan in the oven and get on with other breakfast delights like orange juice and bacon and kissing sleepy foreheads.
¼ cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
4 tsp. sugar
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400º. Melt butter in a medium baking dish.
In a medium bowl, mix the other ingredients and pour into the baking dish with the butter.
Bake on the center rack in a preheated oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately with your choice of toppings. I favor a squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of powdered sugar, but preserves and other toppings will do well. I don’t recommend a savory drizzle as the taste will easily overpower the delicate egg and milk.
I make the entire recipe, but cook only half at a time in my cast iron skillet. Refrigerate the remainder and the next day bring it out to warm slightly while the oven is preheating, the results will still be marvelous.