At this moment in time I’m happily married to the man of my dreams—Valentine’s Day can’t scare me one bit & I plan to greet it with this homemade buttermilk dutch baby spiked with bits of my favorite Lindt LINDOR White Chocolate & Strawberries and Cream truffles, but this time last year I was as far from the comfort & safety I know now as possible: I was falling in love.
Not any sort of love and the operative word is falling. A really brutal falling that had me dialing up a psychoanalyst and reading vintage French erotica (see last year’s post as evidence). My heart rate, as recorded by the monitor I’d taken to wearing on my wrist at the time, would spike into the red whenever I was within a city block of my now husband, and I vacillated between choking on bitter tears (no texts for two days), suffocating anxiety (finally a text!), and a weightless elation (he wants to get Indian food!) that the best (or worst) of drugs could never match. My interior world became nothing save unparalleled highs and devastating lows, often multiple cycles within a 24 hour period. My mother and best friends listened to my mad sobs more than once on the phone as I compared him to heroin or swore I’d never speak to him again or that I’d die without him ad nauseam. I’ve never been more vulnerable. I thought it might kill me; it surely could have. Valentine’s Day , of course, was a particularly harrowing episode.
He offered to make me dinner on Valentine’s Day, about ten days after we met. Bear in mind I was madly in love from day one. The obsessive waking-sleeping-dreaming thinking of them always kind. But hey, no big deal; we’re all adults here. As a once divorced grown woman in her 30’s and a life long detractor (passively, anyhow) of the holiday of canned romantic gestures, I think I believed myself when I said it was neither here nor there. Just any dinner on any night. He was supposed to come when he got off of work. One hour turned into two, two into three. No text, no call. No man I was in love with cooking me dinner. It was nearing midnight, and I laid awake reading on my bed (the aforementioned French erotica no doubt), shoving down that sick feeling, that awful voice that kept saying He stood you up…on Valentine’s Day! And despite my distaste, that last little fact made it so much worse. And around then is when he, cheerful & chipper (and oblivious) as ever, walked in the door. Being so in love, I couldn’t bring myself to show a flicker of fear, anger, or dismay. He scooped me up in his arms and kissed me, and at that moment the project of the universe, from my minuscule vantage point, was complete. The cold fear washed away, and he proceeded to cook me dinner at midnight.
That wasn’t the end of the panics and pangs I went through before we were finally one another’s, the next day alone brought it’s own set of problems. But in that moment, for that night, I was his and he was mine. I was home.
I get to be home everyday now. Though I still spend a lot of time on the road living out of a suitcase, the knowledge that he’s here when I return colors my world. We cherish every moment together, whether we’re running errands or cooking breakfast together. The latter being one of our favorite past times. He loves morning and thus loves breakfast. I hate morning and thus love breakfast (morning’s one redeeming quality). It’s perfect. This fluffy, custardy dutch baby, a cup of his perfect coffee, and a few extra truffles on the side (I’m obsessed with their melty center…it has this cooling sensation that reminds me of coconut oil), this will be a much calmer Valentine’s Day. And I think I’ll give in and enjoy this one. But I won’t be expecting flowers, for him to just show up is still enough. More than enough. It’s everything.
A few notes on making this Dutch baby all that it should be: whip the eggs until frothy (I use his man arm for this, but you could use your own strong arm or a blender as many people do). Then whip the buttermilk into the eggs until once again frothy and light. Foamy even. Then whisk the flour and salt in. Make sure your pan is really hot. I let mine heat up with the oven and then pull it out, let the butter melt in the hot pan with a few swirls, and then immediately pour my batter & dot with truffle bits in and stick it back in. Dust liberally with powdered sugar. Eat warm and fresh out of the oven, these babies don’t like to linger. Speaking of babies…more on that in my next post.
- 3 large eggs
- 160 grams buttermilk preferably whole
- 70 grams all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher or flaky sea salt
- 4 Lindt strawberry & cream truffles roughly chopped
- 40 grams unsalted butter
- powdered sugar garnish
- sliced strawberries garnish
- freshly whipped cream optional
- Heat the oven to 425°F. Place an 8″ cast iron or other oven safe skillet in the oven to heat along with it.
- In a mixing bowl whip the eggs with a whisk until frothy and pale. Really go for it. Add in the buttermilk and repeat this process. Add in the flour and whisk enthusiastically once again until smooth, light, and completely combined. Make this last whisk a bit shorter as we don’t want to agitate the flour too much.
- Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and melt the butter in it. Pour the batter into the pan and scatter the bits of truffle on top. Immediately place in the oven and allow to bake undisturbed for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven when puffed and golden. Revel in it’s initial glory (it will deflate as it cools), dust in powdered sugar, top with strawberries & cream, and enjoy with milk or coffee or milky coffee or tea as you please. Happy Valentine’s Day!