The first time I ever had a Dutch Baby pancake was in Buffalo, NY (where I grew up) at a restaurant called The Original Pancake House. My sister had told me about the pancakes—how each one was made to order (and required a 20-30 minute wait), and how they brought it out to your table piping hot, then prepared it for you by squeezing half a lemon and a flurry of confectioners’ sugar over top (which instantly makes the most delicious glaze-like syrup) followed by a bowlful of freshly sliced strawberries.
YUP. SOLD. Every time I’ve gone there since, it’s all I will order. Can you blame me?
With Buffalo being 8 hours away, however, I’ve been forced to learn how to make them at home. And that I have done. This recipe is my holy grail. I pull it out on weekends and have made it for guests as well, much to everyone’s delight. I actually think they’re easier to make then regular pancakes, as the 20 minute baking time = free time for you to do whatever else you need to do (slice fruit, make coffee/tea, cook sausage or bacon, chill, etc.). And the bonus is that they are super impressive when you pull them out the oven! Light and crisp on the edges and perfectly soft and pancake-y in the middle, they are everything brunch should be.
I always use cast iron pans for my dutch babies, as I really love how the batter rises in them, but glass pie plates work great too. For the flour, you can swap half of the all-purpose flour with spelt or whole wheat pastry flour (any more and it won’t rise as well). I’ve also successfully subbed in 1/4 cup dark buckwheat flour. / Note that there is no baking soda, baking powder or other leavener in this recipe–it’s not required! The heat of the oven forces the rise (magic, I tell ya).For 2-3 people (enough for two cast iron pans):1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour1/4 cup sugar1 tsp kosher salt2 tbsp butter, melted1 cup milk4 eggs1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter, divided, for pansFor 4-5 people (enough for two cast iron pans):2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour3/4 cup vanilla sugar (or regular sugar)2 teaspoon kosher salt4 tablespoons butter, melted2 cup milk, room temperature8 large eggs, room temperature2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons butter, divided, for pansFor serving:Lemon wedgesConfectioners’ sugarStrawberries, raspberries, or blackberries
Depending on what size batch you are making, put two or four cast-iron pans or pie plates in the oven, on the middle rack. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
While the oven is preheating, combine the flour, sugar, and kosher salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract, then whisk into the flour mixture (unlike regular pancake batter, you don’t want lumps). You can also just dump all of these ingredients into a blender and blend for one minute if that’s easier (it is for me).
Once the oven is preheated and the pans are hot, place 1 tablespoon of butter into each pan and close door for a minute, to allow butter to melt. Once melted and bubbly, gently swirl butter around each pan, using pot holders of course, and then quickly pour batter into the center of each skillet. Close the door and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the batter has risen up the edges and it looks puffed and browned. Try not to open the door while they are cooking, as it may cause them to fall or not rise properly.
Remove from oven and immediately squeeze lemon wedges over pancakes then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar (to make a lemony glaze). You can add a pat of butter too. Dump fresh berries on top and serve with maple syrup.
Note: If you have leftover batter, it keeps great if kept in a jar in the fridge. Just use it up within a couple of days.