Look! I made a crazy thing!
It’s called a Dutch Baby. It’s not actually Dutch, but German. The theory is that “Dutch” is an Americanized version of the word “Deutsch” (German). The baby part? I have no idea. I don’t know about you, but I don’t generally put babies in the oven.
Last weekend my friend Rick made dutch babies as part of a manly start to a manly day. I was so taken with his photographs that I knew I had to try one of my own. He sent me this recipe, which has a great picture tutorial. I followed it (mostly) and my baby came out great, just like it was supposed to. I was kind of amazed that it actually puffed. Some sort of crazy kitchen alchemy I tell you.
The recipe is basically the same as the Swedish Pancakes recipe I grew up with, except that it has three times as many eggs — hence the puffiness. The dutch baby batter is also completely unsweetened and unsalted, and as a result I felt its taste was slightly lacking. Next time I think I’ll add a pinch of salt and a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, per the swedish pancake recipe. Hopefully that won’t mess with the chemistry that leads to the puffiness. I also feel it could’ve done with a lot less butter. Edit: Tried it with the salt, brown sugar, and less butter. Marked improvement! Also, putting the butter in the oven for a few minutes to brown is makes it even awesomer.
Of course you can top a dutch baby with anything you think of. I went with simple maple syrup, but lemon juice/powdered sugar is also recommended, as is fruit, or jam. Yum!
Dutch Babies (aka German Pancakes)
Feeds 2-4 people
3 eggs, room temperature (it is important that they’re room temp, not cold)
1/2 cup milk, room temperature (I used soymilk)
1/2 cup sifted bread flour or all purpose flour*
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
generous pinch salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
* Bread flour gives the dutch baby more lift, but I used all purpose flour and it worked beautifully.
- Pull your eggs and milk out of the fridge and let sit till room temperature. Start the oven preheating to 450F. Place 10-12″ cast iron skillet (or other oven-safe frying pan) in the oven while it’s preheating. Use a pan that has sides that are at most 3″ tall.
- While the oven’s preheating, mix the batter. In a large bowl, whisk eggs till light and frothy. Add milk, flour, vanilla, cinnamon (and salt and sugar); whisk 5 more minutes till lumps are gone or mostly gone.
- Using a pot holder, pull the skillet out of the oven. Put butter into skillet and swirl it around until it’s melted, being sure to get it up on the sides of the pan. Stick it back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so, to get the butter a little browned.
- Pour batter in pan all at once and immediately return to the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes till puffed and golden brown. I know it’s tempting, but don’t open the oven midway through to check!
- Serve immediately with maple syrup, fruit, jam, or lemon juice and powdered sugar. The sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings!