German Pancake (aka Best. Breakfast. Ever.)
This is my stand-by…my go-to…my ringer. Rarely will you not have all the ingredients needed on hand. It is impressive hot out of the oven, and yet takes hardly any effort or time to make.
I “learned” to make this very early on…I use the term very loosely. I remember waking up early on Mother’s day when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade and my brother and I went into the kitchen to make ‘breakfast in bed’ for Mom. We knew there were eggs, and flour and milk involved…and we threw in some combination of these things…we may have also added baking soda, baking powder, maybe a little sugar…ya know, we used things that you bake with. We put it in the oven at some temperature, and then took it out when it looked done…and proudly served it on a tray with a single flower and orange juice to Mom…in her bedroom. I distinctly remember her looking very pleased and excited, and then asking us to go get something that was missing…like the salt shaker, or honey for her tea, or a napkin or a knife. The point is…it was all about making us leave the room…so we wouldn’t necessarily see her face when she took the first bite and realized it was not unlike a pasty, eggy, brick of clay with no distinct flavor and powdery clumps of flour bursting intermittently in your mouth. “Amazing” she would say…and then add something like “It’s so good, I’m full already.”
I feel I have since mastered the proper method of making this almost-as-simple-as-rice-krispie-treats breakfast dish and despite a slight hesitation of blowing the ‘Wow’ factor of any future breakfast guests…the recipe is as follows. Don’t go sharing it with everybody you know…or else your “I woke up at 5 am just to slave away over a hot oven to make you this” act won’t be believable!
German Pancake6 Eggs 1 cup Flour 1 cup Milk Pinch of Salt
2-4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
*Note: This recipe is very adaptable – the ingredients are very easy to manipulate based on how many people you will be serving. For example, the pictures below show the makings of a 4 egg German Pancake (2/3 cup of milk, and 2/3 cup of flour). You can make a mini-version with just 2 eggs…and double the recipe even…but I would cook it in two separate pans…otherwise it might take over your oven.*
Crack eggs into bowl, and whisk until light in color and a bit frothy.
Add in flour, beat with whisk until all lumps are gone…the thicker the batter, the easier it is to beat out the lumps.
Add in the milk and beat again until you have a smooth consistency, add in just a pinch of kosher salt.
Turn oven on to 450ºF and let it preheat. At this point, choose a baking dish and place it on the oven to preheat as well. Almost anything will work. For a full recipe, a 9×13 pyrex is great, cast iron skillets work, ceramic bakers, square, round or oval, etc. The important thing is that the pan/dish have sides that rise up at about a 90º angle. I haven’t tried a pie dish…but it would probably work as well.
The batter is purposefully resting while the oven is preheating. Once the oven is hot, drop the butter into the hot dish sitting in the oven…just watch it and let it melt…no need to swirl…once it is bubbly and the edges are starting to turn a toasty brown…its time.
Give your batter once last whisking, open the oven, pull out the rack and pour the batter into the hot buttery pan. Push the rack back in, close the oven and set the timer for 20-25 minutes.
And…wait for it…wait for it…DON’T open the oven…be patient…and all of a sudden, 20-25 minutes later…POOF!
German Pancake! I know, it’s magic. Delicious magic!
Now, there are a couple different theories on the proper accompaniments to this wonderful, voluminous breakfast. My older brother always preferred the lemon juice and powdered sugar route…while I was a stickler for sautéed apples with a bit of cinnamon, butter and a little brown sugar. I love both options now, and the lemon and powdered sugar is the quicker topping.