Recipes

Quarantine Cooking: The Ever-Versatile Dutch Baby Pancake

You can go for wisp thin prosciutto and creamy burrata a la Dutch Baby at Squable.
You can go for wisp thin prosciutto and creamy burrata a la Dutch Baby at Squable. Photo by Brooke Viggiano

With social distancing being of the utmost importance right now, it’s a good time to make use of that one room you always say you’re going to get to know better: the kitchen. Here, we share a family-friendly recipe that can become breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert.

The Dutch Baby. The Dutch Puff. A Bismarck. Whatever you call it, the pillow German pancake is oh-so tasty and incredibly versatile.

We’re not talking your typical pan-flipped cake — a Dutch baby is more like a Yorkshire pudding, made with a batter of eggs, flour, sugar and milk that gets baked in a cast-iron skillet. It puffs up while cooking, then deflates to create a caved in center that can be filled with a number of toppings.

For breakfast, those toppings can range from fresh berries, lemon zest and whipped cream to crumbled bacon, maple syrup and powdered sugar.

At lunch, finish it with thinly sliced prosciutto, fresh mozzarella or burrata, fresh herbs and greens, and a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Or try turkey, swiss and avocado. Add a sunny-up egg if you’re feeling extra (and some hot sauce if you’re really feeling really extra).

It also makes the perfect base for a meaty Bolognese or silky shrimp etouffee at dinner. Oh, and dessert? That’s as simple as Nutella and ice cream.

This simple Smitten Kitchen recipe creates an Extra-Billowy Dutch Baby thanks to a slightly longer cook time (that will help set the peaks), and it can be made both sweet or savory.

Extra-Billowy Dutch Baby Pancake

Ingredients serves 2 to 4
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (enough to fully coat the skillet)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk (ideally whole milk but most varieties will work)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Option: add 1 tbsp sugar to make sweet and some freshly ground black pepper to make savory

Equipment
12-inch round ovenproof skillet or two 9-inch round ovenproof skillets

Directions

Heat oven to 425 degrees with one 12-inch round ovenproof skillet, two 9-inch round ovenproof skillets, or the equivalent sized baking dishes inside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Add salt and flour, whisk until lumps disappear. Add milk, whisking until smooth. If you know you’d like your pancake to end up sweet, you can add 1 tablespoon granulated sugar to the batter; if you know you’d like it to be savory, you can add freshly ground black pepper.
When oven and baking vessel are fully heated, wearing potholders, carefully remove skillet(s) or baking dish(es) from the oven. Melt butter inside and roll it around so it goes up the sides, too. If using one large dish, around two tablespoons should be sufficient; it’s best to use three tablespoons between two dishes, however.

Pour batter into buttered dish(es) and return it to the oven. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes to start, and then in additional 1 to 2 minute increments until the edges are deeply golden brown and the centers are just beginning to color. Have your finishes ready to go. Transfer to a cooling back or trivet.

Eat immediately; these pancakes are best hot from the oven.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano