Although the Dutch baby is a popular brunch dish in the United States, in the Netherlands it is relatively unknown, even though the recipe was seemingly named after us. But appearances are deceiving: This is actually a German dish, a twist on the Pfannkuchen. The Pennsylvania Dutch, a German-speaking immigrant community in the United States, made them, so technically they should be called “Deutsch” babies.
Remove the dark green part and the tough outer layers of the leeks but leave the root ends intact so they won’t fall apart. Halve the stalks lengthwise if they are medium sized; leave the thin ones intact. Thoroughly wash them to remove any sand between the layers! Pat dry.
Heat the oil and butter in a large deep oval ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Place the leeks in the pan, season with salt and pepper, and slowly cook them for about 5 minutes, turning them occasionally. Make sure they stay intact as much as possible. Pour in the wine, let evaporate almost completely, then pour in the stock. Place the thyme on top.
Cover the pan and transfer to the oven to slowly tenderize for about 20 minutes. Scoop the leeks from the pan and let cool until ready to use.
Place a large ovenproof skillet (or four small skillets) on the middle rack of the oven and
Beat the eggs until pale and foamy using a hand mixer at high speed. Use a whisk to mix in the milk, flour, lemon zest, nutmeg, and salt and continue beating by hand to make a smooth and thin batter.
Open the oven and slide a lump of butter into the skillet(s). It will melt immediately, so tilt the pan back and forth (wear oven mitts!) to evenly spread the butter. Pour the batter into the scorching-hot pan(s) straight away, quickly put in the leeks, sprinkle with the cheese, and close the oven.
Serve on a large plate and sprinkle with some fresh thyme. The Dutch baby will deflate a bit, but that is normal.
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