My 1989 Better Homes and Garden cookbook has a recipe for a Puffed Oven Pancake. What is this? Well, it’s what I would call a Dutch Baby. Maybe Dutch Baby was too ethnic sounding for the 1980s. In all seriousness, though, Dutch Babies aren’t really Dutch after all. They are an Americanized version of a German style pancake. The name was coined in a Seattle restaurant, Manca’s Café, and they even had a trademark on the name. The most prevalent theory about the name’s origin is that one of the Manca’s young daughters had trouble pronouncing Deutsche, so it became Dutch. Although the restaurant closed in the mid 1950s, the Dutch Baby’s popularity continued. Sunset magazine is credited with bringing the recipe to the masses, and they published it in a variety of ways over the years, including a Giant Dutch Baby using a paella pan in 1977. I won’t be going that big. I decided to make a medium sized Dutch Baby using a glass casserole dish. A Dutch Toddler perhaps?
Dutch Babies are a great alternative to pancakes for a weekend breakfast, and I believe they have several advantages:
- They are less labor intensive. No standing over the stove flipping pancakes.
- They have less sugar. There is no sugar in the batter, so it’s all about the toppings. You can use fresh berries, or syrup if you want something more sweet.
- They are more eggy than pancakes. This recipe only has 1/2 cup flour.
- Everyone’s pancake will stay warm because you don’t have to cook in batches. Even if I stick the first pancakes in a warm oven, those first pancakes are never as good as the ones fresh off the stovetop.
I found some California strawberries on sale, so this weekend’s Dutch Baby was topped with sliced strawberries and a little powdered sugar. The strawberries were a little anemic looking, as most early, well-traveled strawberries are, but that little taste of Spring was so nice!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Toppings: such as fresh berries, powdered sugar, or syrup
- Preheat the over to 400 degrees
- Put the butter in an ovenproof skillet or pan. I use a glass casserole dish. When the oven is preheated, pace the butter and pan into the oven until the butter is melted (about 3 to 5 minutes)
- In a bowl, beat the eggs with a rotary beater until combined.
- Add the flour, milk, and salt, and beat until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the hot skillet/pan.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until puffy and brown.
- Top with your favorite toppings.