Pannukakku/Dutch Baby/German Pancake

One pancake, a multitude of names. I’m going with pannukakku here because 1) it’s what the boy calls it, 2) it’s kinda fun to say, 3) it’s origin non-specific unlike the other two common names used in the US, and 4) it sounds better than “oven pancake”. Basically, what all of these names are referring to is a batter-based sweet baked breakfast dish with a consistency somewhere between Yorkshire pudding and quiche. The other main defining characteristic is its soufflé-like tendency to rise very high while baking, only to collapse upon being left out to cool. (I’m not saying that my soufflés collapse regularly or anything, just that this dish rises. Anyways.)

Yeah, asking for “pancakes” is always confusing around our household. “The really flat ones? The fluffy flat ones? The fluffy American ones? The baked one? The savory ones with the green onions? What about waffles instead?”

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Finnish oven pancake. Also made in a variety of other countries, as noted above. Particularly appealing because it doesn’t involve having to stand over a hot stove pouring and flipping for prolonged periods of time. You just mix and pour, then come back later to serve. About half an hour’s time and minimal effort. This will be especially appealing for those who like bread pudding, since it comes close to it in both flavor and texture. Texture can range from eggy-fluffy to gooey-custardy, depending on the size of your pan, length of time baked, and amount of liquid you’re working with. I made a very fluffy one last week, but today’s was more custardy because that was what I was in the mood for. The custardy version also reheats in the toaster oven nicer, without getting really dried out. Recipe is very basic and pretty much the same across several internet sites, so I’m just going with the AR one because it happens to have my picture attached to it 😉

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Start out by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) of unsalted butter in a pan ranging from 9×13 to 11×15. The smaller pan will make for a thick and gooey pancake, while the larger one will give more puffing and baking room to make an airier, lighter version. Stick the butter-containing pan into the oven and let it melt while the oven heats up.

Also, notice how beat up my poor old baking pan is. This was its last run and it is now going to the big baking cupboard in the sky. Or to be recycled by the neighborhood trash scrounger for purposes that I’d rather not look too far into.

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The ingredient lineup. We have white sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, eggs and milk. Just about as basic as basic gets.

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Into the blender go 4 eggs, 2 cups of milk, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Mix until well blended and the top’s looking a bit frothy.

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Slowly pour in 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of sugar. Blend well.

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Take out the butter pan from the oven. It should be sizzling by now, so be careful when you handle it. Tilt the pan so that the butter coats the sides as far as you can go without spilling.

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Then pour the excess butter into the batter and give it another good mixing session.

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Pour the resulting batter into your buttered pan and bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. You will see your pancake start to rise by the latter half of the baking process. Don’t worry, it’s not going to stay that big — it’ll start deflating as soon as you take it out of the oven.

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Let your pancake cool off and deflate for a bit. Serve hot with powdered sugar, lemon wedges, and jams of your liking. My personal preference is for vanilla-infused maple syrup.

If you have any leftovers, remember that pancakes of any sort freeze very well! Just toss those extras (or make extra on purpose) into a freezer bag and you’ll have some nice pancakes ready to go in minutes on busier mornings. You can pop them straight into the toaster oven from the freezer and they’ll come out tasting MUCH better than those stale mass-produced grocery store ones.

6 Comments:

  1. That looks absolutely amazing! I love bread pudding, so I’m sure I’d love this and… I have all the ingredients!

    • Yep, not having to go out for ingredients is definitely an attractive feature 🙂 About the only people I wouldn’t recommend this for are those who don’t like the taste of eggs, because it needs to be pretty eggy by default to behave the way it does in the oven. I’m a big fan of egg-based dishes, however, so that’s never been a problem for me.

      And I’m actually kinda surprised that you haven’t encountered a variant before, growing up in the middle of the country where I believe there’s quite a bit of northernish European immigrant influence?

  2. I’m Finnish, and pannukakku used to be almost a weekly treat for us. Also, it was so easy to make that us kids did it ourselves from the age ten or something.

    I my version, blender is not needed, simply whisking the ingredients by hand is enough. The magic trick was to let the mixture be still after mixing for about five or ten minutes to let the flour swell. Also, we did a different butter treatment; We used a paper sheet in the pan so no butter was needed under the batter, and simply threw the butter in spoonful-sized pieces on top of the batter before baking. You might want to try out: Don’t melt all the butter but save the portion that would go to the batter to be placed on top. The butter spots gives the pannukakku so much more delicious look!

    • I remember learning to make American pancakes at about that age, too, and I must say that this version seems a bit safer than letting the kid near a hot burner. Mental note for future reference 🙂

      FWIW, most versions don’t use a blender — it’s just something that I do with most of my batter-based recipes that can stand a bit of prolonged mixing action. I don’t have an electric mixer of any sort at the moment and my wrists weaker than average, so too much whisking tends to make them sore. So my options while cooking are usually to toss it into the bread maker (used for heavier doughs) or the blender (for lighter batters). Sigh, I really really need to get a proper mixer. My last one was a hand mixer and I apparently burnt out its little motor making it attack a tough dough 🙁 *sniffle*

      Good idea with letting the flour swell — gonna try that next time. Though I think I so end up letting it sit anyway because it always takes longer for the butter to melt than for the batter to be done when I’m using a mixer. Will try the parchment and putting the butter on top as well — I thought that the butter on the bottom served the same purpose as it did in Yorkshire pudding — to help the batter move and get puffier because of the sizzling fat underneath. But if you’re getting the same effect using parchment and no butter in the batter, then it’s definitely worth some experimentation. Especially since I was somewhat disturbed at the amount of butter that was used in the first place 🙂

  3. Mmmmmmmmmmm, pannukakku. I really ought to make some, it’s been ages! I much prefer our version to the American pancakes as well, I remember I was slightly disappointed when I had them the first time. Heeee.

    • Hee. Despite learning to make them first, since that was what school taught us, I can probably count the number of times I’ve made American pancakes in my life on one hand. It wasn’t a big thing growing up in an Asian household, and I never developed much of a taste for them as a result.

      So when the boy started explaining the various pancake types, I was quite happy to try out just about anything. This one especially has ended up being my favorite, mostly because I’m a big fan of custardy-type things in general.

      Well, with the possible exception of waffles. Mmmm, waffles.

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