I originally learned how to make Dutch Babies (I call them German pancakes) while babysitting for some particularly kitchen-saavy little girls, about 20 years ago. Many years of hit-or-miss German pancake cooking, and I now have a great recipe and some tips for getting them to come out perfect, (almost) every time.
3 eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup milk, room temperature
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
possible add-ins: a pinch of salt, a pinch of nutmeg and/or cinnamon, 1/8tsp vanilla extract
possible toppings: maple syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, thin sliced fruit like strawberries or pears, lemon peel… get creative!
Preheat oven to 400′.
Mix wet ingredients well, then whisk in dry ingredients. Some people believe there is voodoo in how much the batter is stirred; I am not sure I subscribe to this thought. Just make the batter texture consistent.
Put an oven-proof deep-walled skillet or pie dish in the oven to warm it, then add 2-4 tbsp butter in to melt it. If your skillet or pie dish is hot enough, the butter will sizzle and melt quickly. It is ok to allow the butter to brown a little (this adds wonderful flavor to the pancake) but you do not want it to burn. Pull the skillet/pie dish out of the oven, shut the oven door, and move quickly to:
- Swirl the skillet/pie dish to distribute butter to the sides as well as the entire bottom
- Pour the batter into the skillet/pie dish. I always pour the batter over the back of my mixing spatula to prevent the poured batter from moving too much butter off the bottom of the skillet
- Return the skillet to the oven. Again, move quickly. You do not want to lose heat in the skillet or in the oven.
Bake about 18-25 minutes. Keep a close eye after the 18 minute mark to ensure you end up with a nice German pancake with crispy, dark golden top and an eggy-yet-flaky bottom.
The big trick?
Sometimes these pancakes do not rise at all, but that is rare. To get the best rise and biggest “bowl,” make sure your milk and eggs are room temperature when you make the batter.