The Telltale Sign Your Dutch Baby Is Finished Cooking

A cross between a popover, pancake, and Yorkshire pudding, a fluffy Dutch baby with crispy golden edges and a tender middle is a dreamy dessert with a striking appearance. However, its impressive billowy structure can deflate quickly once it's removed from the oven if it hasn't cooked through properly. If your Dutch babies are failing to rise or collapsing before you've had the time to adorn them with your favorite toppings you need to watch for these telltale signs before you pull them out of the oven; a golden-colored puffy edge with a crisp texture, and a paler but set center.

A perfect Dutch baby should have a pillowy perimeter that's risen up the sides of a hot cast iron skillet, and a soft crater-like dip in the middle. This shape is created when the smoking fat in the pan and the whisked eggs in the mixture meet the heat of the oven to create a surge of rising steam, causing that characteristic puff. Similar to making a Yorkshire pudding, you must keep your Dutch baby in the oven until it develops a deep golden brown color at the edges to guarantee that its exterior has set. Be mindful that its circumference will likely look darker through the glass of your oven door so resist the urge to retrieve it too early. The center should be paler than the edges but fully set. Depending on the size of your skillet, this can take anywhere from 15-20 minutes.

Dutch babies are supposed to sink

A Dutch baby that's finished cooking properly will retain it's risen shape longer than an undercooked one, but it will eventually sink as the steam escapes so don't be disheartened. Simply have your toppings assembled beforehand so you can pile them into the fluffy hollow immediately and dig in. Billowy Dutch babies are commonly filled with sweet ingredients, such as fresh fruit, syrup, and preserves, or the classic combo of powdered sugar and a citrusy spritz of lemon juice. Having said that, they're equally as good paired with savory ingredients. For example, you can top them with thin slices of ham, chives, and a dollop of mustard to make a quick protein-powered brunch, or team them with fried eggs and bacon instead of opting for regular old pancakes in the mornings. 

Indeed, the awesome thing about Dutch baby batter is that you can make it a day ahead and store it in the fridge until you're ready to cook. This extra resting time helps the gluten in the flour develop, which encourages a loftier rise. Plus, it's super-convenient to prep things in advance so you have more time to gather your toppings. Then you can dress up your Dutch baby with fancy caramelized pears or keep things simple with honey and dollop of Greek yogurt.