Oven pancakes, also called skillet pancakes, German pancakes or the very charming Dutch Baby, are not like your standard stovetop pancakes. Rather than having a caky texture and evenly flat surface, oven pancakes are custardlike, often with slightly caramelized edges. The key to these easy-to-make and forgiving pancakes is a hot oven. Serve for breakfast as a special treat or dress with whipped cream and fruit for an unconventional dessert.
What Makes Them Work
Unlike standard stovetop pancakes, oven pancakes do not rely on baking powder, buttermilk or baking soda to provide leavening. The batter is kept light solely by the presence of egg, which, in combination with a high baking temperature, creates the smooth, custardlike texture of these pancakes. During cooking, the batter puffs up like a cross between an omelet and a soufflé, before falling as the pancake cools after baking. The outer edge remains crispy, while the center stays custardlike and soft.
Preparing the Batter
Use a 1-1 ratio of flour and whole milk, and 2 large eggs for every half-cup of milk you use. These are the primary ingredients for your pancake. Add in equal amounts of salt and sugar, roughly a half-teaspoon each per half-cup of flour, and add vanilla extract and cinnamon to taste. You can also add in yogurt or sour cream for extra richness, using roughly a third the amount of milk, but this is not necessary.
Baking the Pancakes
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a preheated heavy-bottomed skillet, such as a cast-iron pan, and keep warm. Pour the batter into the hot pan and transfer immediately to the center of the oven. Bake until set in the center. The edges will turn golden and crispy, and the pancake is done after roughly 15 minutes. The pancake will puff up significantly during baking. You can make one large pancake to serve in slices, or you can make individual small pancakes. If you do not have a small enough cast-iron dish, use individual ramekins.
Serve your cooled pancake in wedges with fresh fruit, whipped cream, powdered sugar, maple syrup or lemon juice. A dollop of Greek yogurt makes for a tart, welcome contrast to the richness of the pancake. For a fancier presentation, soften fresh fruit, such as apples or pears, in the skillet before baking, seasoning the fruit with cinnamon and sugar. Pour the batter directly over the hot fruit and bake as you otherwise would. In this case, to show off your baked fruit filling, invert the pancake onto a plate before serving.
References and Resourcesthe kitchn: Big Pancake -- Dutch Baby
Serious Eats: A Pancake to Rock Your World: German Apple Pancake
Serious Eats: German Apple Pancake
What's Cooking America: German Pancake Recipe - Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe
Betty Crocker: German Oven Pancakes