I love to eat fancy breakfast food, whether it is 8:00AM or 8:00PM. Years ago when I served a rich breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, butter in everything), I would laughingly call the meal a “cholesterol fest.” Well, all those things, like eggs and butter and bacon, that according to doctors a few years ago, led to an early grave, are now deemed by the medical research establishment not to be killing us quite as fast as previously thought. Besides, I believe that as long as one does not eat huge quantities of rich saturated fat filled foods (or really a huge amount of anything), a body is probably doing very little harm to itself. All things in moderation.
Why the abrupt foray into food health and a warning of forbearance?
Because, Dutch Babies are rich! Eggs, butter, whole milk rich! And I’m not referring to small children from the Netherlands. I am, instead, writing about a delicious German breakfast concoction, first made popular in the Northwest during the early 1900s by Seattle restaurant Manca’s.
I tend to reserve this breakfast treat for a special occasion or as a break from the ordinary cereal and boiled egg or yogurt. My mother introduced me to this wonder when I was in high school; why it took her so long, I have no idea. These tasty German pancakes are really a giant popover done up in a deep pan or skillet. The recipe execution looks strange as you blend what seems like ridiculous quantities of flour, milk, and eggs and then pour the resulting batter into the heavily buttered pan. The result is so dramatic that it never fails to amaze guests. More often than not, when people come face to face with their first Dutch Baby they “ooo” and “aaahhh” and “wow" like five year olds at their first fireworks display.
You can make smaller versions by keeping the proportions given below. But really, bigger is better in the case of this breakfast extravaganza. The process is simple and the results are dramatic to the point of disbelief. I once served this to a guest who insisted I must have bought the blimp sized gourmet pancake at a local bakery. These days, just before I serve this wonder, I toss a little flour on my front and spray my face with water so I look like I toiled appropriately. Expect more grunts of approval when your guests bite into this mother of all popovers.
*There are lots of recipes for Dutch Baby floating around. Mine is a modified version of the one featured in the January 2014 issue of Sunset magazine.
- 1/2 cup butter (4 oz)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract (use crystallized if you can find it)
- 2 - 4 tablespoons sugar (optional)
- 1 - 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
- powdered sugar
- lemon slices
- maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 425℉.
Set a 10”-12”, deep skillet or paella pan (non stick if possible) on the lowest rack in the oven and remove other racks or raise them so that the top of the pan clears the rack above it by at least 3 inches.
While the pan heats, put the eggs and milk into a blender and give it a whirl till combined (15 seconds). Add the flour and give it a good 30 second whirl. Scrape down the sides and whirl again. (Some recipes say to sift the flour into the running bender. I don’t find this to be necessary and it can make a mess.)
Once you have a silky batter, add the vanilla, and the sugar and honey (if using) and whirl for 10 seconds.
Pull the pan from the oven and slice the stick of butter onto the hot surface. Place the pan back into the oven for a minute to melt the butter. Watch carefully to ensure the butter bubbles, but does not brown or burn.
Remove the pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter to coat the sides of the pan. Pour the batter into the pan and return the pan to the oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the batter has firmed and puffed up into a giant popover that is browed a little at the upper edge (as in the top picture for this article).
Serve the Dutch Baby with lemon slices, powdered sugar, honey, and syrup. Allow guests to use whatever combination of fixings pleases them. Don’t judge.