If we want to get technical about it, this sweet, popover-like pancake is a take on a German dish called apfelpfannkuchen. Here in the U.S., this puffy breakfast treat is better known as a “Dutch Baby,” thanks to the young daughter of a Seattle restaurant owner named Victor Manca. When Manca introduced his popular take on a traditional German pancake in the early 1900s, his daughter declared it a Dutch baby, possibly a mispronunciation of “Deutsch” (the German word for German). The name stuck and, although Manca’s closed its doors in the 1950s, the variations on his light, eggy pancake are still a favorite in the town where it found its name.
The basic Dutch baby is little more than eggs, flour and milk baked in a very hot skillet. No leaveners like baking powder or baking soda are used. Instead, high heat and a very thin batter create steam. The egg protein allows the batter to inflate, holding the steam within and causing the pancake to puff up, filling the pan as it cooks. Once it cools, the puffy pancake deflates and what’s left is a breakfast treat that is somehow both airy and substantial. The Dutch baby may be sprinkled with lemon juice and powdered sugar or topped with fresh fruit, jams or jellies.
Unlike other variations, the apple Dutch baby is prepared by cooking the fruit in the same skillet and pouring the thin batter on top to bake in a hot oven. With sweet, gooey apples ((the “apfel” in “apfelpfannkuchen”) lurking inside a moist, puffy pancake, the apple Dutch baby is a succulent, yet surprisingly simple dish. This German favorite by way of Seattle prepares quickly and has a touch of “wow” that makes it an easy choice for breakfast when holiday house guests are in the mix.
Apple Dutch Baby
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine butter, apple slices, cinnamon and brown sugar in a 10” cast iron skillet and cook over medium-high heat until softened and beginning to brown.
Transfer skillet in oven.
In a food processor, combine eggs, flour, milk and salt and process until smooth.
Pour batter evenly into skillet over apples.
Bake for 20 minutes until puffy and edges are lightly browned (do not open door while baking).
Dust with powdered sugar and cut into wedges to serve.
Originally: Apple Dutch Baby Recipe