Sunday, November 02, 2003
A couple of times on vacation Lee and I have gone out for Dutch pancakes. We like having them for breakfast, but it turns out in Holland the Dutch don't actually eat pancakes for breakfast. Needless to say, we've suffered through some very long mornings waiting for pancake shops to open up for lunch. Of course some Dutch pancake shops know what pancake freaks we Americans are and open early.
In Holland they eat an eggy crepe type pancake as big as a large dinner plate. Flat like pizzas, they come topped with almost anything you can imagine from tomatoes, cheese, bacon or shellfish to dessert varieties with chocolate or ice cream and fruit. Pancakes have a long tradition in the Dutch culture. Supposedly over 300 years ago the first pancake was created in Holland but only in recent times have they gone crazy with the toppings. Dutch pancake houses are not only popular in Holland but we've found them in Canada and in the UK. But I've never seen a puffed oven baked pancake in any of them, of the type that we call a Dutch Baby. So after doing some investigation, I'm pretty sure that a Dutch Baby is a "Pennsylvania Dutch" recipe of German origin and not really Dutch at all.
There are plenty of very good recipes for this type of baked puffed up pancake. I originally got the recipe from Sunset magazine but Anna Thomas's "The Vegetarian Epicure" has a good version as well called German Apple Pancakes. If you want to try something easy and impressive with ingredients you are more than likely to have on hand, a Dutch Baby, regardless of its heritage, is your ticket.
Note: The following recipe serves 2. You can make individual pancakes by cutting the recipe in 1/2, though don't put any less butter in the pan. (As you can see from the measurements, it is about the easiest recipe ever to multiply depending upon how many people you want to serve.)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon butter
Preheat the oven to 450-500 degrees for at least 15 minutes.
In a blender mix the milk and eggs, while blending, spoon in the flour. Put a cast iron skillet or a pie pan in the oven and when hot, add the butter. As soon as it is sizzling, swirl the butter around to make sure the pan is covered, then pour in the batter and bake for 10-15 minutes. It should puff up and then collapse when it comes out of the oven. You can bake this for more or less time depending on how eggy or crispy you like it.
Top with powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Or fresh fruit and yogurt. Or slices of apple that you have sauteed in butter and sugar till tender.