I’ve been a bit bored with the breakfast rotation lately. I was rescued from my doldrums a few weeks ago when I heard someone talking about German Pancakes and suddenly found myself with a new craving. But are German Pancakes a weekday sort of breakfast?
They sure are! Though the baking takes about 30 minutes, the batter takes 5 minutes to throw together with the most basic of ingredients. So run downstairs in your jammies, get the pancakes in the oven, go back upstairs and- in the time it takes to rouse a grouchy teenager from bed- you’ll have gorgeous pancakes waiting for you. And trust me, the promise of German Pancakes will get anyone to the breakfast table a lot faster than a bowl of Cheerios will.
Yield: I double this recipe for myself and the kids. It probably serves about four average appetites.
Special equipment: 2-3 cast iron pans It doesn’t matter what size. I use everything from and 8” to a 12” in the same batch, just pulling the pancakes out as they’re done. If you don’t have enough cast iron pans, you can use cake pans. There are two significant downsides to the cake pans. First, their lack of handles can make them rather awkward to deal with. Second, the pancakes rise from the center and don’t “climb” up the sides the way they do in cast iron. I haven’t yet figured out why that is, but it is a bit of a bummer. I love the crunchy edges.
For the batter
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup milk, warmed for about 45 seconds on High in the microwave We’re looking for a temperature that’s just warm, not hot.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup flour I use 50/50 white/whole wheat. It works great.
1-2 lemons, quartered
Powdered sugar mixed with cinnamon
- Place the pans in the center rack of the oven and preheat to 400-degrees. You can only cook the pancakes on the center rack. If you try to use two racks, you’ll burn the bottom of the one on the bottom rack before the top is cooked, and vice versa. You cannot switch the position of the bottom and top pans half way through cooking to solve this problem. You will lose the steam that is puffing up the pancakes and then the result will be doughy and leaden. If you don’t have two ovens, you’ll just have to do them in stages.
- Mix up the batter.
- When the oven reaches 400, remove pans from oven. Spray with cooking spray or brush with butter.
- Divide batter among pans: about ¼” depth of batter per pan.
- Place the pans back in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until pancakes are very puffy and tops of bubbles are toasty colored. Minimize the opening of the oven door. If the oven temperature drops too much, you imperil your puff!
- When you remove the pancakes from the oven, they will collapse like a soufflé. Brush them generously with soft butter, removing from their pans to a cutting board. Cut them into pie-shaped wedges- a pizza cutter works great.
- Squeeze generously with lemon juice, sprinkle with the powdered sugar and cinnamon mixture and enjoy!
German pancakes can also be enjoyed with a tart fruit sauce. I also had the pleasure of enjoying them with a squeeze of the tart juice of some Seville oranges that Kyle brought me a few weeks ago.