I love pancakes. Any time there’s a commercial for IHOP, I’m not gonna lie – I feel like whipping up a big fluffy batch and throwing caution to the wind just like the people on TV. But then I’m reminded of how much time and effort is going into 2014’s goal of health and wellness, and let the moment pass. Sigh. I thought about crepes, but those are very tricky and tend to either burn or tear. Thankfully there’s a happy medium in the form of the Dutch baby, or German pancakes as they are also known.
Originating in a little family-run restaurant in Seattle during the early 1900s, the “Dutch” part refers to the Pennsylvania Dutch, or German-American immigrants. Who knew such an old recipe could still feel fresh and modern today. These light pancakes are perfect for those lazy Sunday mornings during the winter months when you crave a little something more than just a pile of granola and yogurt, but don’t want to go completely off the rails.
Here’s a recipe that’s unbelievably simple, quick, and elegant. I was experimenting with some little French tart pastry tins, and it yielded photo worthy results!
Mini Dutch Baby with Berries
adapted slightly from Barefoot Contessa’s recipe:
prep + baking time: roughly 20 minutes
Individual shallow tins (gratin dishes work), or one small cast iron pan. I used pastry tins which gave a nice scalloped effect.
Mix of fresh berries, cut and combined together with 2 tsp of sugar, lemon juice. Set aside
6 tblspn melted butter, and room temp butter to brush each dish
3 extra large eggs, room temp
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated citrus zest (orange / lemon / grapefruit)
1 tblspn of sugar
pinch of salt
powdered sugar / maple syrup
1). Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
2). Place the gratin or shallow dishes on a sheet tray, and put a tab of butter in each one. Set aside while you make the batter.
3). In a large pyrex (or mixing bowl with pouring spout), whisk the eggs, milk, then slowly add the flour (a little at a time, otherwise it’ll be lumpy) zest, melted butter, tblspn sugar, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Whisk everything together so it’s the consistency of heavy cream. (Similar to popover batter).
4). Place the buttered gratin / tins in the oven to heat up, 5 min. Remove, and use a pastry brush to make sure all the butter is in a nice layer of each dish. (And not puddled in one side).
5). Carefully pour batter in each dish, not quite to the top but almost.
6). Bake in the center of the oven for 12-15 minutes until puffed and golden. If some are browning faster, turn halfway.
7). Using a offset spatula, carefully remove each pancake and place on wire rack for 2 minutes so that the bottom doesn’t get soggy.
8). Serve with the berries, maple syrup and powdered sugar.
You can also try these other sweet and savory variations:
Mixed berries: cut strawberries, and mix in blueberries and raspberries with 1 tspn sugar. let stand for 10 mins and serve
Cheese, spinach, mushrooms and herbs
Apples and raisins: saute cut apples in 1 tspn butter. mix in raisins and some brown sugar