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The Original German Pancake – This is no Dutch Baby!!

German Pancake or Dutch Baby

by Barbara Kiebel on February 26, 2014

This post was originally published several years ago and I was inspired to bring it out of the archives for two reasons. I was reminded of my Grandparents home the other day when my friend Kristen at Dine and Dish discovered Google Maps Street View and I remembered that’s how I got the photo below and it always brings back such wonderful memories. Once I started traveling down memory lane I had to make one for myself and decided it should be shared again; this recipe is too good to miss. Beyond that? I’m on a personal mission to acquaint everyone with a German pancake…and let them know there is nothing Dutch about it!

———-From 2011
I’ve got a problem and it’s called a Dutch Baby. Every single time I see someone extol the virtues of that breakfast treat I want to scream it to the mountains; they simple butchered a name, that’s all!! Why does this matter so much to me?? Well, I’ve got a lot of German blood thanks to my dad’s side of the family and I know when my Grandma Bathe first prepared one of these pancakes for me and shared their history, there were no tulips or clogs in sight; nope, none. So I’m here to right a wrong; to share why this is indeed a GERMAN pancake; join my mission won’t you? :)

Story has it that the name “Dutch Baby” was coined in a family-run restaurant in Seattle called Manca’s Cafe, owned by a gentleman named Victor Manca from about 1900 to the 1950s. A Manca descendant wrote that the name was coined because Victor’s daughter could not pronounce ‘Deutsch,’ the German word for German; and out of her mouth came Dutch and the deed was done. Originally served as three small German pancakes with powdered sugar and fresh squeezed lemon juice; the’ Dutch Baby’ moniker was born. Eventually a regular size serving, labeled the “Big Dutch Baby” gained popularity and is what is so often referred to today. So, let’s see. A mispronunciation leads to a new name which is furthered by making them little but eventually they get big again and yet the butchered name stays the same.

It’s really a giant pancake; an Americanized version of a German dish called Apfelpfannkuchen.  Although called a pancake, the end result actually reminds me more of a crepe. They puff up as evidenced in the photo above and without leavening the end result is a thin layer that is traditionally finished with butter, lemon juice and powdered sugar.

The house that was my grandparents home for more than 50 years on Hoffman Avenue in St. Louis.

How fitting that my grandparents, descendants of  Germany and Switzerland, lived in a south-side neighborhood of St. Louis populated by what was called the Scrubby Dutch; another example of the word Deutsch becoming generally known as Dutch. Germans, in general, realize they are preserving their land for the future. This results in a clean, pleasant countryside and relatively manicured streets, even in big cities. If you wonder where the idea of “South St. Louis Scrubby Dutch” comes from, simply visit the central Rhine and points nearby. Germans in small villages take to the streets almost daily, to sweep small debris and keep their walkways looking attractive. This was so typical of my grandparents neighborhood, a quiet, conservative-Catholic neighborhood filled with Gingerbread bungalows. It was like going to a different world from our suburban neighborhood of new homes  without grown trees and I loved it there. I found this picture using Google maps…it seemed so much larger when I was a little girl but no less precious and I remember many special nights staying in that bedroom on the upper right listening to the birds in the tree in the front yard. For me it was just this side of Heaven.

This is easy to prepare and quite a unique presentation…one reason my children liked me to make it when they had friends sleep over; this is not everyone’s Grandma’s pancake!

Although I love the traditional method of serving with lemon juice on top sprinkled with some powdered sugar, I’ve always made a couple of options so for our family it would not be the same without apple slices sauteed in butter and sugar or cinnamon and sugar with toasted almonds on top. I provide all of those choices so everyone can have their version of this GERMAN pancake that appeals to them most whatever name they insist upon using! :)

German Pancake (Dutch Baby)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6 Servings

German Pancake (Dutch Baby)

A baked pancake traditionally served with lemon and powdered sugar.

Ingredients

    For the Pancake:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • For the Apples:
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

Preparation

  1. !To Make the Pancake:
  2. Using a wire whisk or fork, beat eggs until blended.
  3. Measure flour and salt into a bowl and whisk to blend.
  4. Add flour mixture to beaten eggs in 4 additions, beating slightly after each addition just until mixture is smooth.
  5. Add milk in 2 additions, beating slightly after each.
  6. Lightly beat in butter.
  7. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp of butter on low heat in 9 or 10 inch heavy skillet.
  8. Pour batter into skillet and bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.
  9. Slip onto a heated platter and serve immediately.
  10. Traditionally served with melted butter, a squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of powdered sugar.
  11. To Make the Apples:
  12. Melt butter in a small frying pan.
  13. Add apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Slowly cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until slices are glazed and tender.
  14. Spoon onto center of baked pancake or serve on the side.

Notes

Cut slices as you would a cake from the center to the outer edge.

http://www.creative-culinary.com/german-pancake-or-dutch-baby/

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joan Dahlen March 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Hi,
I just sent you an email about helping me with my food blog, and decided to stroll around your web site. I found your adorable picture of your grandparent’s house. I have my grandparent’s house in my cookbook and plan to put it on my blog. I love your picture and the darling story that goes with it about the scrubby Dutch. So cute. Now you have won me because you are also sentimental about your family and memories and I can’t wait for you to contact me and help me with my blog.

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2 Creative Culinary March 25, 2014 at 8:47 pm

I sure loved my Grandma Joan…you don’t read much about my mom on these pages though. :)

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3 mel March 18, 2014 at 1:43 pm

these are one of the things that can give me heart palpitations at the thought of making. don’t get me wrong when I do, they are delish, but I can’t count on them raising properly every time. they will be a success one time and the next I’ll make them the same way, in the same pan, in the same oven and I’ll get a flat, somewhat dense “cake”. still tastes good but not what I intended. I’ve baked them in a heavy skillet. I’ve even dragged out the old rusty cast iron from the camping box. they’ve been baked in expensive calphalon, in pie pans, in disposable pie pans. they’ve come out both high and light and flat. never know which way they’ll turn out. I’ve even contacted local restaurants that serve them to ask if they have any clues as to this phenomenon. none. do you have any advice?

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4 Creative Culinary March 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm

It’s hard to say Mel but I can only guess it’s the eggs since there is no leavening. While you want to blend them well, beating them too much before it goes in the oven might see it deflate after it starts cooking since. I also typically use extra large or at least large eggs; make sure yours aren’t too small. I’ve never had a problem so it’s very hard to discern what is exactly going on so hoping a bit more trial and error will help.

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5 Gerlinde(Sunnycovechef) February 28, 2014 at 11:02 pm

I remember making Pfannkuchen with my mother, covered with powdered sugar. I have to make them again soon.

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6 Hannah February 26, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Heavenly indeed! My mom is German and made German pancakes for us quite often while growing up. They were always a favorite and I remember watching them puff up through the oven window. I haven’t one in way too long. When I left home I was confused by the name Dutch babies (and Dutch friends of mine didn’t like this at all!). I appreciate you clarifying where this originated. Hooray for German pancakes!
Hannah Most Recent Post: Steak and Zhoug

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7 Creative Culinary February 27, 2014 at 8:45 am

My kids loved that too; it was the absolute ‘must have’ if they had friends sleep over! Yes Hannah…Hooray is right! :)

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8 Maureen | Orgasmic Chef February 26, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I learn so much here! I had no idea. I always thought it was German but went with the hype and assumed I was wrong. Whatever the name, these look wonderful and I want one.
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef Most Recent Post: Spinach and Ricotta Manicotti with Meat Sauce

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9 Creative Culinary February 27, 2014 at 8:44 am

Few know but as someone with German ancestry I have to get the word out, right? Nothing Dutch about them! :)

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10 Lizzy (Good Things) February 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Barbara, a beautiful recipe and informative story. I blogged a blueberry and white chocolate ‘Dutch baby’ inspired by another blog I had visited… I had not heard of these prior to that… not as German pancakes nor Dutch babies. (I have a little German background mixed in with Magyar and Czech too) : ).

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11 Creative Culinary February 27, 2014 at 8:47 am

I’m sure that no one making something like this and calling it a Dutch Baby has a clue; being part German and knowing the story I want to educate where I can…of course with a recipe too! :)

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12 Ansh February 26, 2014 at 12:24 pm

What a delightful read this is. Thank you for a wonderful post and your grandparents’ home was charming.

I will soon be trying this when the teen’s friends come home. This many not be her grand mom’s recipe, but she will say this is Aunt Barb’s recipe with a lot of pride.
Ansh Most Recent Post: Easy Vegetable Biryani

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13 Creative Culinary February 27, 2014 at 8:50 am

I loved their home so much. I remember the big, warm kitchen, the stairs we used to loved to bump down on our rear and the beautiful stained glass window on that stairwell. It seemed so big and you know what’s funny, I never noticed the shape like I did when I found it online…I just remember the big front porch!

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14 Paula February 26, 2014 at 11:41 am

I loved this post and as I had never heard of Dutch Babies or German Pancakes I truly enjoyed the history lesson. Your grandparent’s house is so charming! How wonderful that you have this picture of it.

I recall my Mother telling us how the German People were obsessive about keeping their home and properties spotless all the time. She came to know this from visiting Germany when we lived overseas from 1955 to 1960. I don’t remember our visits there but I do remember her speaking of them. My husband has visited Germany as well and loved it.
Paula Most Recent Post: Bachelorette/Bridal Shower Lingerie Cookies

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15 John@Kitchen Riffs February 26, 2014 at 11:30 am

I remember when I first heard about Dutch Babies, and thought it must be some exotic treat. Then I had my first one — and found out it was a German pancake! Really good, of course, but something I was very familiar with. Super recipe, and totally fun read. Really enjoyable post — glad you brought this back.
John@Kitchen Riffs Most Recent Post: Celery Root (Celeriac) Rémoulade

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16 mick rosacci February 26, 2014 at 11:07 am

YUM! Totally irresistible! Well done!
mick rosacci Most Recent Post: Take That Shrimp Seriously!

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17 Marlys February 26, 2014 at 11:05 am

Sooooooo making this for breakfast!

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18 Creative Culinary February 26, 2014 at 11:59 am

We just love them; hope you do too!

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19 Kate | Food Babbles February 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Loved hearing about your grandmother, St. Louis and the history of this German pancake. I’ll have to try making this and serving it in a more traditional way. It sounds like simple perfection with butter, powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Lovely!
Kate | Food Babbles Most Recent Post: Strawberry Vanilla Bean Dutch Baby – Secret Recipe Club

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20 Creative Culinary February 5, 2013 at 4:22 pm

That’s how I love it best Kate; it’s divine.

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21 Katie September 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I’ve had a taste of a variety of pancakes as my children just love them but, I never had the chance to make German pancakes or what you call the Dutch Baby :) Thanks for providing the options to serve it up as per an individual’s taste; mine would be served with butter (melted), powdered sugar and roasted almonds. I’m sure my kids are going to love them as much as I enjoy making them. :-)

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22 Creative Culinary October 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Your kids will love it I’m sure; sort of a crepe like final product. Now…just to be clear; I don’t call them Dutch Babies. I’m German…that’s sort of an mixed up name made by people who didn’t want to go to the trouble to pronounce Deutsch (German)! Seems silly doesn’t it because in using the incorrect word they’re now often associated with the wrong country entirely! :)

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23 Karin April 13, 2011 at 3:26 am

This looks delicious. I am definitely going to try this recipe.

By the way, there is a lot of mixing up the words Dutch and Deutsch, but they aren’t the same. Dutch refers to origins from The Netherlands, Deutsch refers to something originated from Germany. They have some similarities, since the two countries are neighbours, but are still very different at the same time.

Hmm, I wonder if I still have time to make this for lunch. It sure looks yummilicious!

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24 Kim March 24, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Dutch babies are wonderful! In college, one of my favorite traditions was to visit Plums Cafe in Costa Mesa, CA. They had the BEST Dutch Babies, made to order. Back in the day, you could also get with it bottomless mimosas… for $4.95. Wonderful for Sunday brunch.

Dutch babies are so easy to make, but for some reason, we hardly ever do it. Have to remedy that soon.

Agree they’re more like crepes. :-)

[K]

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25 Bren March 23, 2011 at 9:30 am

oh my gah. i love this. the pancakes look thin enough to enjoy like a stack of 10! i love it. and the little lemons are so cute! and i love the name scrubby dutch.

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26 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen March 9, 2011 at 12:49 am

If these are anything like crepes, then I’m sure to love them! I adore crepes and my favorite way to eat them is rolled up with a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. I’d love to try these too!

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27 Nancy@acommunaltable March 7, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I have always wondered where the term “dutch baby” came from and now I have the answer!! Started making these a few years ago and they are now a family favorite/staple!! My kids love them with maple syrup or blueberry compote but for me I’d be all over those beautiful apples!!
Are the houses in the photo where your grandparents lived?? They are so cute and so different from what I grew up with – definitely jealous!!!

P.S. – Your photography just gets better and better!!!

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28 Laura March 7, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Oh wow these look so fabulous-so glad you chose to share the less common German pancake!

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29 Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks March 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Great story and recipe. I like the addition of lemon here but I’d also like the version with cinnamon apple slices.

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30 Lora @cakeduchess March 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Oh goodness! These look amazing! I love Dutch Baby’s. Great story, as usual. The apples look DIVINE!!:)

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31 Jennifer March 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I love making the Dutch Baby. It’s so easy and yummy and it always looks so amazing when it comes out of the oven. My hubs hates the name though, so I’ve started calling it the giant oven-baked pancake, but that’s just when he’s around.

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32 Brian @ A Thought For Food March 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Brings me back to my childhood when we’d go to the local diner and get apple dutch babies. Haven’t tried making them, though… but now I’m inspired.

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33 My Kitchen in the Rockies March 7, 2011 at 9:41 am

Oh, yes. You are in for big trouble in Germany if you forget to sweep the street in front of your house on Saturday! You will be the talk of the whole village and you really don’t want that to happen, ever.
My Apfelpfannkuchen look different. They are very big, but don’t have this high rim. I have never seen anybody in Germany baking them with this high rim, but I have seen this in many American recipes for their German style pancakes. Do you know why, Barb? My family also puts the thin sliced apple pieces directly in the batter. We sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the top and eat them with soup for lunch. Thanks for the reminder. I will have to bake some for my family soon. You made me hungry for pancakes now.

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34 Creative Culinary March 7, 2011 at 10:14 am

This one went a bit nuts Kirsten, even I have to admit. I’ve done them both ways, with apples in the dough and without…and my girls just always loved the big puffy pancake without! This time around…the back half actually got sort of hung up on the rack above, I was very lucky that I easily got it unstuck!

I actually used a 12″ cast iron skillet so I upped the ingredients a bit…next time think I will stick to the same amount of ingredients and just shorten the cooking time; this was literally 4 inches high on one side (they do settle a bit once out of the oven thankfully).

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35 Tickled Red March 7, 2011 at 7:43 am

Oh this is too funny! Great minds think alike :) Yours came out so much better than mine though. Yum! I can’t wait to make this nest weekend. XOXO

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36 Creative Culinary March 7, 2011 at 10:15 am

Really…you did the same thing…how funny and yes, must be our great (or crazy) minds! :)

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37 Karen Harris March 7, 2011 at 7:43 am

I can definitely use the word . . . this looks “delicious”. I am so glad to know that this recipe works at high altiitude. This definitely looks like a spring break treat for my kids.

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38 Molly March 7, 2011 at 7:41 am

My mom’s family is German, and it was so nice getting to be reminded of my Oma and her appfelkuchen this morning. Thanks so much for posting.

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39 Creative Culinary March 7, 2011 at 10:15 am

It was a nice trip down memory lane for me too…my Grandma has been gone 30 years; stories like these take me back to her kitchen in a heartbeat.

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40 foodwanderings March 7, 2011 at 7:39 am

OMG Barb this looks so delicious I wish you were my neighbor so I could have some, craving it so bad!! The photos are amazing!

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41 Creative Culinary March 7, 2011 at 10:16 am

Well, of course I wish that too. I would GLADLY share with you Shulie!

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