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Dutch babies are oven baked puffed pancakes, very similar to Yorkshire pudding. They may also be called Bismarcks, or German Pancakes, and probably were first named Dutch babies by the children of Victor Manca, who ran a popular restaurant, Manca’s, in Seattle. There is an unconfirmed story that Manca would prepare these puffed up pancakes in individual sizes, and that his children gave them the nickname Dutch babies to differentiate them from the larger pan-sized German pancake.
Despite the impressively large puffs, Dutch babies are a cinch to make, with very few ingredients. Eggs, milk, and flour are combined and first scrambled for a minute or two in lots of melted butter over a stove top, before being baked in a high heat oven for about 15-20 minutes. As the “baby” bakes, the sides of the pancake rise up and turn a crisp brown. The center rises unevenly, and when fully done, the top should be golden.
As soon as you cut into Dutch babies they deflate dramatically, and they’ll also shrink if left alone. This is why you should serve them immediately after they bake. People have many topping suggestions for Dutch babies. The classic is to serve the pancake in slices with a topping of lemon juice and powdered sugar. People also enjoy them topped with jams or preserves, honey or syrup. Some like to eat them plain, since they are so rich given the large quantity of butter in which they are baked.
Dutch babies won’t ever be a low-fat dish, but they can be a spectacular one. If you want to eliminate a little fat from the dish, you can dab the top of the baby with a paper towel to take off some of the excess butter that forms on the top. Still, you’ll be getting a very high fat breakfast or brunch.
On the other hand, you can really impress guests by whipping up these simple pancakes for a brunch dish. You can also try different flavorings to make savory Dutch babies. Consider adding a bit of chopped onion, a little garlic or a bit of grated cheese. Since the recipe is so simple, you should make sure additions remain scant and on the simple side. If you overload your pancake with two many fillings it may not rise as attractively.
I'm a huge fan of Dutch Babies, and find they make a great substitute "bowl" for taco salad or chili. Yum, yum. I may have to go home and make one!
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