Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dutch Baby for One

I'm hopeless at making pancakes. Always have been, always will be. I don't get the batter right. I turn them too soon, or not soon enough. I'm told to watch for "dry looking edges" and then flip, and when I do, the underside is either not browned, or has mottled black spots. I'm told to look for air bubbles having popped through, and then flip. Same result. My pan is too hot, or not hot enough. Oh fiddle. I just don't make them anymore. Waffles, occasionally, will make into my rotation because they are cooked in a waffle maker and I open the lid when it dings. But not pancakes.

Today, however, I decided I'd try a German Pancake -- a Dutch Baby. I remember my mother making them when I was teen -- but only when we had company over for breakfast. I'm surprised this was considered only "company fare" because there is no greasing of the griddle, no lifting the edges of the pancake to see if it was anything close to diner-style brown, no standing and cooking in batches. With four kids, I'm surprised we didn't see a big puffy pancake more often.

With this recipe for one, I knew I could try it in my toaster oven and do nothing but stare. There would be no scooping and pouring of spoonfuls of batter onto a griddle, tearing off and eating the brown edges of the previous failed pancake*, scowling. With the Dutch Baby, you pour it all in at once and leave it be until it's time to say "Taa dahhh!"

So how was it? Perfection, I tell you! I actually giggled out loud whilst staring into my little toaster oven. This was so easy, I may actually try making popovers.

Dutch Baby for One

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup fat free milk
1 egg
Dash of nutmeg
1 pat of butter

1-2 tablespoons of jam or syrup
Powdered Confectioners Sugar

Heat your oven to 450 degrees and ready an oven proof skillet by heating it in the oven. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, milk, egg, and nutmeg, beating to combine. Let the prepared batter sit a moment while you take the hot pan out of the oven, and quickly add butter to melt and swirl in the bottom and up the sides of the pan. I used a 6 inch personal cast iron skillet ($1.00 from Goodwill -- Score!), and one pat of butter was plenty. Try not to brown it. When coated, pour the contents of the batter into the pan, swirl it lightly to coat the bottom of the pan, and put in your hot oven for approximately 15 minutes, until well puffed with very brown edges.

Remove and serve immediately -- have your toppings ready because while this puffs up dramatically, it also deflates quickly. Quickly sprinkle with confectioners sugar, lemon juice, and top as desired with fruit or jam. I used a bit of sugar, a lot of lemon juice, and a dollop of Sour Power Cherry Rhubarb jam.

"As God is my witness, I'll never burn pancakes again!"

*Actually, I see a lot of pancakes on Tastespotting that look exactly like my "failures." Browned edge rings, but not an even amount of brown across the surface, etc. These are rejects, to me. When I was 8 years old, my family was driving late at night through Provo, Utah, with a car full of hungry kids and the only restaurant open was Bob's Big Boy. I had a plate of pancakes. They were unusually and deeply yellow, an even, perfect brown from edge to edge, and as big as dinner plates. They were so good, and I was so hungry, that this pancake became the standard by which I judge all pancakes.

Calories 306.0 Fat 9.5 g Carbohydrate 42.4 g Fiber 1.1 g Sugars 11.0 g Protein 11.7g


  1. This is great- they're really similar to dutch 'panekoeken'. Belgium also has a version.