We all love pancakes. And while some of us love the fluffy ones, some like crepe better. Well, there is one hybrid recipe that unites these two. It is, you’ve guessed it: The Dutch Baby. The Dutch Baby Pancake gets the best not out of two, but of three worlds: those of pancakes, crepes, and popovers! And while we have all been out with friends and decided to go Dutch with the check, preparing this pancake won’t call for that. In fact, you most certainly have all the ingredients you need to prepare the basic recipe, so this goes into the pocket-friendly list of recipes!
The Name and Origin of these Pancakes
Although the name might be misleading and one could think that this one skillet pancake originates from the Netherlands, this is not the case. The answer of where did it come from lies in one of the other names for this sweet treat. A Bismarck, a Dutch Puff and German pancake. And yes, the original recipe comes from Germany and it is a staple breakfast dish there!
According to one story, the Dutch Pancakes were first introduced in the States in the first half of the 1900s in Seattle, Washington. The Manca’s Cafe, a family-run restaurant owned by Victor Manca where apparently way ahead of their time, and noticed the need for a dish that unites all of the three desserts mentioned above.
But, for all of the credit they can take for introducing this sweet dessert to our nation, they are also “to blame” for the misleading name. Since the word “Deutsch” means “German”, the family’s lack of knowledge of it became apparent in their misinterpretation of it as Dutch, and now we are all used to that name precisely.
How are Dutch Baby Pancakes Prepared?
Now that we’ve covered their origin, it is time to go into the more interesting part, their preparation! The typical pancake recipe calls for eggs, milk, and sugar. The batter should be thicker than the one for crepes and thinner than the one for the typical pancake recipe.
The trick is to pour the batter into the skillet all at once. And this is probably the best feature about the Dutch babies. No need to work in batches, no need for greasing and re-greasing the skillet. Get the skillet into the oven and wait for it to work its magic.
Usually, it takes a few minutes for the pancake to puff and as soon as the edges start to turn golden and slightly crispy it is time to get the pancake out. Don’t despair if the puffed pancake suddenly flattens! It is the natural course this dish takes, and it is why it is so well-loved. It has a soft and tender texture with crispy edges. Yum!
A typical Dutch pancake recipe would require:
- Half a cup of all-purpose flour
- Half a cup of whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
The Best Tricks for the Best Dutch Pancakes
Use a blender
Usually, pancake recipes require not overmixing the batter, because a few lumps will ensure a fluffy pancake. However, a Dutch pancake recipe will require just the opposite a smooth, lump-free batter. So, don’t be afraid to put your blender (or food processor) to the use!
Leave the batter be
This is another very useful trick because you still want a moist and tender pancake in the center. Resting the batter will result in the flour absorbing the liquid, which will ensure a better texture and less floury flavor.
Oil before Butter
Make sure you brush the inside of the skillet with vegetable oil to ensure the hotcake doesn’t stick to it, then proceed to add some butter for flavor.
Always use hot skillet
As we already said, we want the center to be tender, but we want the edges to be crispy. For this part to be successful, make sure the skillet you are using is hot prior to putting it into the oven. As for the size and material (although cast iron is preferable), any pan or skillet will do. However, the best crispy edges will be done in a 9- or 10-inch skillet.
How to Serve Your Dutch Pancake?
The traditional way this puffcake is served is with vanilla and cinnamon a squeeze of lemon, butter, and powdered sugar.
However, the very thing we love pancake recipes for is the original recipe can always be improved. This means that the number and variety of toppings that can be added to the Dutch baby pancakes are virtually limitless.
If you want an all-sweet treat, serve them with Nutella or chocolate syrup. Or, even better, experiment! Add some crushed Oreo cookies or prepare a special Reese’s syrup to drizzle on top, let your imagination go wild! Since this will be a high calorie meal, save it to treat yourself on a weekend.
Or maybe you want your pancakes to be more on the fresh side? No worries, you can also top them with berries, all of them (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) literally all berries. And all that freshness comes with a little gift on the side: health promoting features! Berries are known for their antioxidant power, and it comes from the very pigments that give them their color (anthocyanins). Berries are great for the heart, the brain and the overall immunity!
You can also top these babies with jam, or the way you would the regular American pancakes: with a piece of regular butter, a spread of peanut butter, or maple syrup (Ok, you cannot top them with bacon, now that’s unfortunate).
As for the actual serving, you can eat the pancake straight from the pan, this is a good idea for a date night. Two adults will be more than satiated sharing this pancake. An alternative would be slicing it into wedges and eat each wedge with a different topping. YUM!
Now, this is something new, although already tested by cooks from around the world. A Dutch Pancake topped with savory toppings is a definite must try. Cilantro, shredded chicken, and cheese are the most common savory toppings.
So, next time you are preparing pancakes make sure you give the Dutch baby a try, both you and your family and friends will enjoy a tasty (tender and crispy) pancake bite!