Going Dutch

“Everything old is new again.” And Dutch Baby pancakes are exactly that! An old favorite that has now become the darling of food enthusiasts everywhere.

A Dutch baby pancake, sometimes called a German pancake, a Bismarck, or a Dutch puff, is a sweet popover that is normally served for breakfast. It is made with eggs, flour, sugar and milk, and usually seasoned with vanilla and cinnamon or lemon. Sometimes it is served with fruit or other flavoring.

A Dutch Baby is baked in a cast iron skillet or oven-safe pan and when it’s removed from the oven it’s tall and puffy. But it falls soon after being taken out.

Start with a thin, pancake-like batter. Pour the batter into the pan all at once and place it into a hot oven. Within a few minutes, the batter will start to puff around the edges, rising higher and higher until this “pancake” looks more like a soufflé. Once those edges turn golden and the amazing aroma wafts around the kitchen, it’s ready.

Out of the oven, the Dutch baby will quickly collapse back into the pan since the steam holding it up quickly evaporates in the cooler air of your kitchen. You will be left with a pancake that’s got the soft, tender texture of a hot crepe and the eggy flavor of a sweet popover. Slice it into wedges and sprinkle it with confectioners’ sugar and fruit as you serve it.

According to food historians, Dutch babies were introduced in the first half of the 1900s at a family-run restaurant that was located in Seattle, Washington. While these pancakes are derived from a German pancake dish, it is said that the name Dutch baby was coined by one of the owner’s daughters, who referred to it as “Dutch” or Deutsche, meaning “German” and the name stuck. Until the 1950s when the restaurant closed, they actually owned a copyright on the name.

Basic Dutch Baby

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup whole or low fat milk

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons butter

Confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, and jam, for serving

Blend the batter: Place the flour, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a blender or food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend for 10 seconds, scrape down the sides, and then blend for another 10 seconds. The batter will be quite loose and thin. Alternately, the batter can be mixed vigorously by hand with a whisk.

Set aside the batter to rest 20 to 25 minutes. This gives the flour time to absorb the liquid.

Heat the oven to 425°F. Place the skillet or pie plate on the middle rack to warm along with the oven.

When ready to make the pancake, remove the skillet from the oven using oven mitts and place it on top of the stove. Add the butter and swirl the pan to melt the butter and coat the bottom and sides of the pan.

Pour the batter on top of the butter. Tilt the pan if needed so that the batter runs evenly to all sides. Place the skillet or pan back in the oven.

Bake until the Dutch baby is puffed, lightly browned across the top, and darker brown on the sides and edges, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into wedges and serve with maple syrup or jam.

Apple Dutch Baby

3 tablespoons butter

1 Cortland apple, peeled and sliced thin

2 teaspoons brown sugar

½ cup flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put butter in a 9- or 10-inch oven-safe frying pan and heat the pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add sliced apples and brown sugar and cook, stirring often until the apples are softened and golden.

In the meantime, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a blender or food processor. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract and blend the batter until smooth and frothy, 30 to 45 seconds.

Carefully pour the batter over the apples in the hot pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes; do not open the oven while baking. Remove from oven and serve warm with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.