Hands down, my favorite breakfast is a whimsical, slightly sour, oven-baked creature that my mom used to make for me when I had sleepovers at our house as a kid. We called it Big Pancake; others know it as a Dutch Baby or German Pancake. In the morning I'd hear the blender going and know she was making the batter. About 45 minutes later, a gaggle of pajamaed girls would gather around the over and watch the pancake's showy, doughy display.
I started making these Big Pancakes by myself at an early age, and thirty plus years later, Big Pancake is still my go-to dish for big gatherings, holidays and lazy weekend mornings. You can serve a lot of people without a lot of effort, and everyone's jaw will drop as they witness how the pancake puffs and falls in the oven.
The ingredients are basic, the recipe is easily memorized, and it can be made in any oven-safe dish (cast iron skillet, pie dish, square or rectangular glass baking dish, roasting pan), so it's likely you're already armed with the right equipment.
Big Pancake is best served with fresh berries, a shake or two of powdered sugar and a spritz of lemon juice, or a bit of warm maple syrup.
Big Pancake (Dutch Baby)
Serves 4 to 6
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
To serve: Lemon wedges
Pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Whisk the eggs, milk, flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, or whiz in a blender. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Place the butter in a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet or glass baking dish. Place in oven until the butter melts. Remove the pan, swirling butter to coat the sides. Pour the batter into the pan, place the pan back in the oven, and quickly close the door. Bake until golden-brown on top, puffed in the middle, and the edges of the pancake have crawled up the sides of the pan, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Slice the pancake into wedges and serve with dusting of powdered sugar, berries and lemon juice, or just some good maple syrup.
For something a little more composed, check out Faith's fruity riff on my Big Pancake method: a delicious Weekend Apple Pancake. Think Big Pancake plus Tarte Tatin. (Not a bad thought, right?)