German pancakes


You can call this a Dutch pancake if you want. Or a Dutch baby. Or a baked pancake. But in my family they are German pancakes. I don’t even know if they make these in Germany. Or why we call them German. All I know is my mom would make them every once in awhile and it was always a big treat because we were usually left to our own cereal-scrounging, toast-making devices come breakfast time.

And, I have to say, that was a good thing. It’s a decent life skill to be able to create breakfast for yourself. Breakfast is a meal that more people than not seem to the same, exact thing every day and be quite content with it. I had a friend who ate Grape-Nuts and coffee yogurt for about a decade straight. That was her breakfast. If she came to stay at your house you pretty much had to provide those items or risk a fairly bad vibe emanating from your house guest in the a.m.

My dad downs about half a loaf of toast every morning. Even if he is planning on making eggs and bacon for everyone later in the morning, he will toast himself up a few slices of bread to get the day going.

I tend to mix my breakfasts up a bit more. I think I could, however, eat whole grain crisp bread, thinly sliced mild cheese, a few cold cuts, a hard-boiled egg, and about a pot of black coffee every morning. I don’t, because this is America and that’s not what we eat for breakfast, but this post has got me thinking about what I would eat for breakfast if I had to eat the same thing everyday and that’s what came to mind – the elements I pull off a Scandinavian breakfast buffet every time I’ve had the extreme good fortune to encounter one. I’m going to add a few things to my grocery list and give it a try at home.

Along with teaching me valuable morning kitchen scavenging skills, my mom also taught me how to make German pancakes. That said, I don’t think this is her recipe. In any case, she taught me one could make a batter that, when poured into a hot skillet and baked, puffs up into a crispy-on-the-outside and tender-on-the-inside breakfast treat. And she taught me to call those treats German pancakes.

German pancake

This recipe makes one large pancake two not-too-hungry people could split, I suppose, but I really can’t imagine not wanting the whole pancake to myself. The recipe easily doubles or triples or more, as long as you have enough frying pans for each one and space in your oven for said frying pans to fit. A pie plate also works. You just want to use something with slanted sides – in my experience the whole thing puffs better for reasons I don’t understand (perhaps because it’s only anecdotal observation and coincidence and not science).

Don’t worry too much if your pancake doesn’t puff very much. They usually do, but sometimes they don’t – the pan wasn’t right or the oven wasn’t hot enough or you didn’t say the incantation correctly – but they’re still delicious. Not puffy, but still delicious.

2 Tbsp. butter

2 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup flour

2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400. Put butter in a 9- to 10-inch frying pan or pie plate and put it in the oven to melt (do this with each pan you’re using). Whirl eggs and milk in a blender (you can do this all with a whisk and a bowl, but I like using a blender to minimize lumps), add flour, sugar, and salt and whirl until you have a smooth batter. Pour in about half the melted butter from the pan and pulse to incorporate the butter into the batter. Pour batter into the still-hot (or at least warm) pan and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake until golden all over and browned at the peaks, about 15 minutes.

Serve hot with powdered sugar and a squirt of lemon. Or with jam. Or syrup. Or honey. Or fruit. Or bacon. Whatever sounds good to you.