St. Louis breakfast queen Tara Lansangan fires up a rare breakfast treat—simple yet dramatic Dutch baby.
Credit: Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

CL: What distinguishes a Dutch baby from other battered breakfast dishes like pancakes, French toast, or crepes?

TL: What's great about a Dutch baby is that you prep it, put it in the oven, and then the magic just happens. This allows for more fun times with your guests. And it's so exciting to see the thing puff up like crazy in the oven while drinking a Bloody Mary.

CL: They're such great dishes—beautiful, scrumptious, and inherently light. Why are they so uncommon?

TL: I think maybe people don't make them often because they don't know about them. I only had my first one about a year ago when a friend took me out for brunch, and it kind of blew me away. I love it when wonderful things come from such humble ingredients that you probably have on hand in your pantry.

CL: What are some keys to making a Dutch baby?

TL: They may seem intimidating—like a soufflé—but they're pretty foolproof, as long as you preheat your oven and pan properly. Use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. Spray your pan to prevent sticking. And get your toppings ready before you start baking, so it's ready to eat as soon as it comes out of the oven in all its glory.

CL: As a breakfast guru, what do you enjoy most about the first meal?

TL: I still feel excitement about being a grown-up, because it means I can have a.m. Champagne in my OJ and it's socially acceptable. And of course really good coffee. Many mornings, coffee is the entire meal.

They to the dish's dramatic puff comes from oven spring—the jolt of steam and heat the batter gets when it's poured into the sizzling-hot pan and then goes straight into a cranked-up oven. Make the strawberry mixture first so the fruit has time to macerate and get even juicier.

Try one of Tara Lansangan's Dutch babies at The Mud House in St. Louis.