Recipes and Inaccuracies

I enjoy cooking. Always have, heck, I worked my way through college in a commercial kitchen as a chef. So, when I get a hankering for something, I just cook it. Either learn to cook it, or just dive in.

A few weeks ago, my sister was visiting, and I decided to make a Dutch Baby, and I found this recipe on the Epicurious web page.

The recipe is simple, the ingredients aren’t esoteric, and I had an appropriate cast-iron pan to make it.

The secret to a Dutch Baby, and even a good soufflet, is to use room temperature ingredients, eggs, and milk particularly. So far so good.

For this recipe though, there is a component, an “Apple Cider Syrup” that you should make in advance, and this is where my frustration of the recipe lies.

The syrup is a reduction of apple cider, with some butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Simple. Mix all the ingredients in a heavy bottom pan, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and gently boil, whisking occasionally until the syrup is thick and syrupy.

Simple, and indeed it is simple. But herein lies the rub. The recipe says this will take 30-45 minutes. For 4 cups of cider to be reduced to about 2/3rd’s of a cup.

I call bullshit. Unless you have a raging boil, and are looking to make hard candy, that is way too short to cook off that much water. It took a little more than 90 minutes.

It makes me wonder whether they actually tested the recipe, or if this was just a guess.

Fortunately, I did the syrup the night before, and the Apple Dutch Baby turned out excellent.


(I don’t mean to pick on Epicurious, as this is endemic, frustrating, and can be a huge demotivator for the less dedicated cooks and newbies.)

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