A Dutch baby pancake is a sweet and simple oven-baked pancake that can be topped with any kind of fruit, yogurt, or sugar. Also known as a German pancake, Dutch puff, or Bismark, this dish is made with four, milk, and eggs. The pancake billows while in the oven only to fall into a crater shape once it is removed. Several diner and restaurant chains specialize in their own variations of this breakfast food.
Thought to be inspired by the German apfelpfannkuchen, or apple pancake, the Dutch baby pancake traces its history back to the early 1900s. Victor Manca, the owner of a Seattle restaurant called Manca’s Cafe, is credited with introducing the dish. The etymology of the name is not certain. Some believe that one of Manca’s daughters coined the term because the pancakes were originally smaller and served in trios, while others maintain that Dutch is a corruption of Deutsch, or the German language word for German.
A typical recipe for a Dutch baby pancake calls for eggs, flour, and milk. The batter may also be flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, or honey. Many versions also call for lemon juice or zest. The ingredients are whisked together and poured into a hot 12-inch (30.5-cm) ovenproof skillet coated in butter. The pancake will bake in a hot oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and puffy.
Once it is removed from the oven, a Dutch baby pancake will collapse, forming a crater. Powdered or raw sugar is a common topping. Some variations add berries, apples, or other fruit to the deflated pancake center. Other recipes call for kiwi slices, nectarines, or peaches. Sour cream, yogurt, or syrup are other topping options. There are myriad ways to top a Dutch baby pancake, or it can be eaten plain.
This dish is typically eaten at breakfast or brunch. A Dutch baby pancake can be presented on a plate or in the skillet. It is commonly cut into wedges that are served with other breakfast sides. It is possible to bake the pancakes in smaller skillets and serve them in pairs or trios rather than cut wedges from a large one.
Some diner and restaurant chains specialize in their own versions of the Dutch baby pancake. For example, the Original Pancake House chain offers a large Dutch baby topped with butter, powdered sugar, and lemon. Manca’s Cafe, where the pancake was first introduced, closed in the 1950s, but the recipe was widely published in cookbooks and magazines like Sunset.