Friday, May 15, 2009

Oven Baked Pancake / Popover – so easy it practically makes itself


Some people call this oven baked pancake / popover a Bismarck while others call it a Dutch Baby Pancake. Both are baked in a black cast iron skillet in a hot oven where they puff up dramatically in a few minutes and make an impressive breakfast dish. The Bismarck was one of the most popular recipes in the original Silver Palate Cookbook, one of the best selling cookbooks of all time which has recently issued a 25th anniversary addition. It can be served plain with powdered sugar and fresh lemon wedges or gussied up with fresh fruit or sautéed sliced apples.

The first time we ate a Bismarck was in 1995 when we lived in the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. One evening good friends invited us for an elaborate gourmet dinner at their home and extended an invitation to stay over for the night. Nasty weather was predicted and they didn’t want us driving the boat home in the dark. How could we decline an invitation such as that? Besides, our friend Tony was the Julia Child of our crowd. The next morning his wife Diane, also a fine cook, prepared their favorite breakfast – a Bismarck straight out of The Silver Palate Cookbook. We watched as Dianne quickly whirled flour, milk and eggs in a blender until she had a smooth batter. Meanwhile Tony melted some butter in a black cast iron skillet and, when it was melted, poured the batter in the pan and popped it in a hot oven for ten minutes or so. It rose like a popover and we instantly fell in love until we realized Tony had used a whole stick of butter for one pancake.

Even though it’s an easy recipe, it’s only been in the last five or six years that I’ve mustered up the courage to give it a try. Why you ask…well, the original recipe called for 8 tablespoons of butter, in other words an entire stick. One day I read that if you have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, it can double as a non-stick pan. A light went on in my head. By gosh, they are right. So I decided to reduce the butter in the original Bismarck recipe to two tablespoons and give it a try. I didn’t have much to lose and the basic ingredients were cheap – eggs, flour and milk. The results produced a success and we didn’t miss the other 6 tablespoons of fat. I also added a pinch of salt and some freshly grated nutmeg to the batter. We served it with confectioner’s sugar and lemon wedges, just like we’d always done with popovers. I also added some fresh raspberries and strawberries and it was an instant hit. In the winter we like to sauté apples, season them with cinnamon and sugar and use them in place of the fresh berries.

It’s funny how things can happen in your life that parallel other people’s experiences and you don’t even realize it at the time. (I would love to hear if it’s ever happened to you.) Molly Wizenberg, author of A Homemade Life and the immensely popular blog Orangette, tells a similar story about the first time she had the pancake at the home of friends in Seattle. Her pancake was called a Dutch Baby instead of a Bismarck and she too decreased the butter in her version. Molly’s recipe calls for four eggs instead of two and she uses half-and-half in place of the low fat milk we like.

Martha Stewart calls the Bismarck a Dutch Baby Pancake as well but adds sugar and vanilla extract in her recipe which appeared in the March 2009 issue of Everyday Food. As you can see, this pancake has made the rounds and adaptations abound. No matter what you call it or how you vary the ingredients, it's a winner.

Oven Baked Pancake / Popover
Adapted from the Bismarck in The Silver Palate Cookbook

2 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup 2% milk
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 or more tablespoons sweet butter
Fresh lemon juice + a few lemon wedges
Confectioner’s sugar
Fresh raspberries and blueberries, optional

Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Whisk together 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, with ½ cup flour, ½ cup milk, pinch of salt and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.

Melt 2 tablespoons of sweet butter in a 10” cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Pour batter into skillet; place in oven. Bake until the pancake is golden and fluffy, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from oven. Quickly remove the pancake from the pan and on to a serving plate. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar. Add a few raspberries and blueberries, if using. Roll loosely jelly-roll fashion, slice and dust with more confectioners’ sugar. Garnish with more berries, if using. Pass lemon wedges at the table. Serves 4, unless you love it; then it only serves 2.

Variation: In the winter we like to sauté sliced apples with a little cinnamon and sugar in a skillet until desired degree of doneness and serve in place of the fresh fruit.


Update – Saturday, May 16, 2009

Yesterday when I did this post there was a nagging thought in the back of my mind that I was leaving something out of this post. Now I know what it is thanks to T. W Barritt. He left a comment that triggered my memory. His fabulous blog, Culinary Types, featured a savory Dutch Baby this past February. Savory ingredients such as gruyere and ham bring a whole new dimension to these pancakes. Thanks T. W. for reminding me. I urge everyone to click over to Culinary Types to see his pancake dinner and the savory Dutch baby.



Award

Martha from Lines from Linderhof has graciously presented me with the “One Lovely Blog Award” and I am very grateful. Martha and I both have a lot in common as we both write a food column for our local newspapers. She lives on the prairie in Kansas in a lovely 1920’s home. Her blog is filled with great recipes as well as gardening and decorating ideas. Be sure to drop by and say hello.

I would like to pass the “One Lovely Blog Award” on to my friends and readers who visit my kitchen and leave their comments, which I enjoy reading immensely. Please feel free to post the award on your blog and, if you wish, nominate 10 other blogs and link to them. Send some love back to the person who bestowed the award on you by telling them who gave you gave it to and posting a link to their site. Let your nominees know that they’ve received the award. If you do pass the award along, please let me know. I would appreciate it.

Hugs to you all.
Sam

51 comments:

  1. Hi Sam!

    I had my first Dutch Baby in the home of friends in Santa Barbara. My husband is Dutch, and I was surprised to learn they didn't need him to make said Baby. :-)

    It was great - confectioner's sugar and lemon was all we needed, though we have had it with maple syrup too.

    I have made it since, fairly often, and use the stick of butter. It is a treat, and we rarely have butter anyway!

    I learned not to make it with coconut flour. It soaked up every single grain of flour, and turned it into a dry and difficult Baby. Take a bite, drink some water/juice. Take a bite, drink some water/juice.

    I will stick to the spelt or almond flour now!

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  2. Hmmm...I've never made one of these, but I do have all of the ingredients on hand and a lot of apple butter leftover from my PopTarts--maybe that will be our Sunday brunch this weekend!

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  3. I used to make a Dutch baby with apples - at one point we had it every weekend in a fall but it was so long ago and I haven't made one in years! Your pancake looks delicious - I love the berries on top!

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  4. I love Dutch Babies and I'm thrilled you've adapted a classic recipe to a more healthful version. This looks lovely. Thank, Sam.

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  5. This looks yummy. I do something similar with apples and cinnamon.

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  6. I have never made one of these..a whole stick of butter does sound tempting, but I have an extremely well-loved cast-iron skillet reminding me I really only need 2 Tbs ;) Looks delicious, Sam.

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  7. looks lovely like yorkshire pudding, thats basically baked pancake mix, with no butter though, we used to eat it with a roast dinner, then with golden syrup for dessert.
    congrats on the award

    Rebecca

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  8. I have that cookbook and never saw the recipe. I'll go back have a look. That is such a great idea for breakfast. You can add so many things to it.

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  9. I too used to make this often -- sometimes for Sunday morning breakfast, sometimes as a dessert. I think my recipe came from THE VEGETARIAN EPICURE. We always used sauteed apple slices and sometimes a little dark rum.

    Yum!

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  10. I make a version of this my Mom always called "Big Apple Pan Cake". GREG

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  11. I always make "fried" pancake, this is a lovely pancake, not only how you presented it but also because it's baked :)

    Congrats on your one lovely blog award!

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  12. thank you for the kind words -- love your posts -- we call it a German Baked Pancake! My Daughter's favorite breakfast food -- served with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. I have acquired 4 small cast iron skillets and the next time they visit . . .it will be individual small ones instead of big ones!

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  13. I haven't had one of these for years and I have never had one with the fruit added. Yum!

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  14. What a beauty that is.....It will take my pancake baking to a whole new level!!!
    Thx for sharing!!

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  15. I've bookmarked a recipe for popovers to! Looks delicious!

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  16. Dutch Baby Pancake is becoming my easy/fancy weeknight meal - nothing to it! I've made the Dutch Apple Baby, but also like a savory recipe I've found that uses diced ham and gruyere cheese - delicious!

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  17. This looks absolutely GORGEOUS!! I bet it tastes outstanding. I have never made one before. Your photo has convinced me to try. Truly lovely.

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  18. I'm glad everyone likes these pancakes. I had forgotten that T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types did a post on Dutch Babies a while back and here's a link to his savory one. It's a real winner. It's on my list of have agains.

    http://culinarytypes.blogspot.com/2009/02/pancake-pandemonium.html

    Sam

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  19. Thanks for reminding me of a great recipe! I need to make this dish again! I'm glad to know the butter can be cut down to make it healthier!

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  20. I havent' heard of this before or of the Silver Palette Cookbook. This looks so wonderful. I'd love to surprise my family with a Bismark for breakfast. i love that it can be adapted depending on the season and your taste!

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  21. Great adaptation Sam. I think you and I share all of the same cookbooks. We had this for the first time at our friends home after spending the night. I was so impressed with the drama and simplicity. Will have to try it again.

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  22. What a gorgeous pancake! It looks mighty delicious!

    Congrats on the award!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  23. I saw this yesterday and was going to comment, and realized I was going to be late to work... Now, that is a wonderful looking breakfast, lunch or dinner dish, as I always like breakfast foods other times of the day. We had a similar pancake at a B&B in the PNW, and the memory of those wonderful flavors have come back looking at this!

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  24. Many, many thanks for your much healthier adaptation! The first and only time I've had a Dutch Baby was at a B&B in Duluth, MN; it was absolutely delicious but one of those "I'm-on-vacation-so-I'm-allowed" kind of treats. With your recipe, I'm all set to enjoy it at home (and I can guarantee that it will serve two - but only if the husband is quick or very lucky!)

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  25. My brother in law makes this for us once a year at Christmas. I would like to try your lighter version with the fruit. He also called them Dutch Babies. So yummy with the lemon and sugar.

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  26. Sam I have one thing to say about that popover!! YUMMY! YUMMY! YUMMY! Ok three but who is counting?

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  27. I have always loved my Silver palate Cookbooks. They have a coeur la creme that is amazing as well. The savory Dutch Baby intrigues me so off I go to check it out:D

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  28. Hello Sam,

    Waw, this dessert or breakfast looks so fabulously delicious!! What a beauty of a recipe!!
    Congrats on your latest award!!

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  29. Sam,
    I have been looking for fancy recipes to make while camping. This looks perfect! I need to season my big dutch oven a little better, but I think this could easily be adapted to campfire dutch oven cooking. Yummy!

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  30. Love it! I have dreamed of making one of these but although I have a cast iron skillet it won't go in the oven. What to do? Your Dutch Baby looks so perfect and so delicious! And congrats on yet another well deserved award!

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  31. This looks so delicious! I have had this in the past at restaurant but have never made it in my kitchen. Looks as though I may need to try it!

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  32. I have never made this myself, but it sounds easy enough and you did a fabulous take on it. A big congratulations on your award as well!

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  33. Just wanted to let you know they sell the books on amazon.com!!! I had a look for you and found them all here...
    http://www.amazon.com/s/qid=1242749921/ref=sr_nr_n_19?ie=UTF8&rs=1000&keywords=marie%20claire&bbn=1000&rnid=1000&rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3Amarie%20claire%2Cn%3A%211000%2Cn%3A6

    So you can get some use out of the recipes too! :)

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  34. I've never had this, but it sounds and looks absolutely delicious!

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  35. A whole stick of butter for one pancake (even though it is large), is straight Paula Deen style! Good to see that you were able to get the same result with less. I will have to try this for breakfast very soon!

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  36. Sam,
    This looks so good. I could almost eat it right off the blog. The photos are great. I really enjoy visiting your blog and leave hungry each time I visit.

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  37. As I said Earlier, this is GORGEOUS. Scott is most anxious to read your tomato piece. How can we get it? GREG

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  38. oh my! this looks marvelous! if every morning started with one of these, I'll never have a bad time!
    and congrats on the award!

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  39. I love making dutch baby. You just reminded me that I haven't made one in ages. I definitely want to try this version.

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  40. my first visit here and enjoy your delish blog.
    the baked pancakes look sweety and yummy cause I usually eat fried pancakes, I'll try this ... :)

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  41. I can get popovers to puff up but I cant get this pancake to puff- I will try again because yours looks so delightful!

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  42. These pancakes are always so good, and the reduced butter sounds perfect! I've never heard it called a Bismarck. Good to know.

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  43. This would be great to make over the weekend. I love this!

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  44. what a great little dish, and a lovely story to go along with it - pancakes are always popular, and they can suit sweet savoury vegetarian and carnivore desires, so versatile

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  45. I know I am going back in time but I had to check this recipe out. The best thing about it other than the results is the cast iron frying pan. They are great.

    Back to the recipe. Your photo is what got me interested and now I have to try it with my cast iron pan. I could sell cast iron pans.

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  46. Silver Palate cookbook, eh? Shall have to take a look round, as I've only now heard of its fame. The baked pancake looks delicious! I like the reduced fat idea! My mom used to make Seattle Dutch Baby Pancakes as a special treat, and we kids would eat it with her homemade brown sugar syrup, as usual. (pancakes in general were a favorite at our house).

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  47. i love this book! i have tried a lot from this book and this has to be my fav recipe! way better than regular pancakes!

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  48. I make up a German Pancake I believe almost monthly that my family loves that seems similar to this! It calls for 6 eggs and we are a family of 4 that can devour it, as the kids will have 2 to 3 slices when they want!
    So I am wondering if that is the difference that this stays lower in pan and serves 2 hungry people! This looks very good but I would need additional pan or have you tried larger pan and additional ingredients?
    Thanks John

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    1. John, I have not tried a larger pan, but I think with a larger pan it would not puff up as well. This can serve 4 to 5 slices, but if someone loves it as much as we do, it's perfect for 2 - 3 people. For your family with kids, you might need to make two in separate pans.
      Sam

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  49. In Abaco, did you ever meet Nancy Primrose, from Maryland? She was my godmother and a wonderful cook. She passed away last summer. She loved Abaco. Cheers, Nina from Idaho

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  50. In Abaco, did you ever meet Nancy Primrose, from Maryland? She was my godmother and a wonderful cook. She passed away last summer. She loved Abaco. Cheers, Nina from Idaho

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Sam