You can’t order an apple pancake every single time you go to The Pancake House. Sometimes you need something lighter but equally delicious. In The Walker Bros. original Pancake House family tree, a.ka. the menu, the Dutch Baby stands in breezy blonde opposition to her rounder, denser, deceptively sweet but totally over-the-top Apple Pancake sister. One lifts you up and the other does you in.
If you’re from the North Shore of Chicago, you know what I’m talking about.
For everyone else, I’ll admit it never occurred to me that the Dutch Baby might have originated anywhere other than Wilmette, Illinois until I read this entry in Orangette a few years ago.
No, the Dutch in the name didn’t tip me off.
Homer attitude aside, I’m grateful Molly Wizenberg brought the Dutch Baby back, because it makes a near-magical appearance on nights when there isn’t a thing in the fridge except an old lemon, a few eggs and some combo of milk/cream/half & half. Now we’re making these dramatic puff pancakes at work and serving them the Walker Bros. way with sliced lemon wedges and powdered sugar, plus a side of lemon curd and fresh blueberries.
The three of us in the kitchen yesterday morning ate this one straight from the pan.
Get the lemon and sugar on the pancake while it’s still piping hot and you achieve alchemy: the juice moistens the sugar, the heat lightly caramelizes it, and the eggy air pockets crackle with warm lemon sweetness.
If any Chicagoans are still reading, I’m gearing up to make an apple pancake.
adapted from Molly Wizenberg
Makes 1 large for sharing or 2 individual pancakes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pinch salt
½ cup half-and-half
For the topping:
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide the butter between two 6-inch or pour into one 12-inch cast-iron skillet and melt it over low heat. (we sued a deeper 12-inch pot for the pancake below but only because our skillets were already being used. The pot works just fine too).
In a blender, blitz the eggs, flour, sugar, salt and half-and-half.
Pour the batter into the skillets over the melted butter. Place immediately in the hot oven and don’t open the door until the Dutch Babies are puffy, golden brown soufflés, about 20-25 minutes.
Remove the puffed pancakes from the oven, transfer them to a serving plate, dust with powdered sugar, squirt with lemon juice and serve immediately with other toppings as desired.