German Style Oven Pancake

Oven Pancake Trio

Duck fat. There are not enough glowing words to describe my love and adoration for duck fat. This morning, it turned my two German-style Oven Pancakes (also called Dutch Babies) into creations worthy of a photo shoot, much to the moaning of the hungry masses hovering near the stove, wanting to whisk it away to the breakfast table.

Rising several inches above the sides of the pan, the pancake’s bottom was nearly paper-thin, but yet strong enough to not tear when it easily slid out of the pan, thanks to duck fat. They released so easily from the glass pie pans, barely a speck of crust remained, unlike other times when I’ve used butter which tends to burn and hold onto crusts more easily.

If cooking can ever be described as having exciting moments – those that don’t involve fire extinguishers – this morning’s oven pancakes were it, my dear husband describing them as “Brilliant”.

Single Oven Pancake

Earlier this week, wanting something new and different for breakfast, but not too far away from eggs and meat, I decided maybe I wasn’t finished experimenting with Savory Oven Pancakes. I’d developed over a dozen possible combinations of meat and fruit fillings, around which the oven pancake batter rose and baked, wrapping each morsel with custard-goodness, but I hadn’t yet experimented making a classic German-Style Oven Pancake – a baked shell, into which a finished, sautéed filling is placed after the shell is baked.

For another layer of flavor, a freshly-made Hollandaise, or in my case, a home-made cheese sauce, is spooned on top, adding one more layer of texture and flavor. A simple grating of a high-quality hard-cheese – Manchego, Asiago, or any other kind of full-flavor aged cheese – would be another flavorful option.

I did spend time considering a purist-perspective this morning before I committed to the meat-route. A traditional German-Style Oven Pancake is straightforward and simple – nothing more than a light dusting of powdered sugar, followed by a few squeezes of lemon halves, accompanied by a side of bacon. Looking at it from a pork and duck fat and salty-sweet-sour flavor combination, it could hardly get any better…

Filled Pancake “You’re making a meat filling, right, Mom?”, my daughter interrupted my “beauty of simplicity” thoughts.

The meat fillings can be as simple or complex as you desire, or have time available. I save a lot of time because I invested my vegetable prep and chopping time over half-a-year-ago, making good use of my Excalibur dehydrator dehydrating last summer’s biodynamic harvest. So, for me, morning eggs that include vegetables, is a simple matter of rehydrating them in warm, not hot water, then gently squeezing out excess moisture.

This week’s German Style Oven Pancakes had two different fillings. The first was a melange of wild smoked salmon, chard, leek, onion, garlic, dill and zucchini. The second was made with 1-lb pastured pork sausage, seasoned with sage, sautéed with 2 medium onions; then gently tossed with spinach, red peppers, leek, garlic and tomatoes. There was enough filling for four oven pancakes or double the recipe, so I ended up putting half the filling away for use this weekend.

While I love Hollandaise, on busy homeschool mornings, cheese sauces are easier to make, tossing grated cheese into a basic Béchamel. An extra-sharp cheddar cheese sauce, with a touch of dry mustard was perfect for the salmon oven pancake.

This morning’s sausage and onion pancake cheese sauce was made from 3 cheeses, remnants of several aged cheeses I’d thrown together, too dried out for other uses, but perfect for making cheese sauce. I’m guessing there was some Gruyère, Asiago, and a bit of Garrotxa, a dry, aged, goat cheese leftover from a Souffle’-making frenzy I went through a few weeks ago.

For another added layer of flavoring, I always offer our fermented jalapeno sauce or tomato chutney.

And to think I used to hate breakfast! Now, if the strawberries would just start growing, I see a strawberry oven pancake in my future…….

Recipe

German Oven Pancake German Style Oven Pancake

  • 6 pastured, local-fresh organic eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups grass-fed raw whole milk or half-and-half
  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached King Arthur, unbromated flour or finely ground/sifted whole wheat pastry flour (140 grams)
  • 1 T organic, fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt salt
  • 4 T duck fat (or lard, or bacon fat)
  • Hollaindaise or Bechamel Cheese Sauce
  • Filling of Your Choice (any meat/vegetable/onion combination will work!)
  1. Whisk the batter together the night before – eggs through salt; cover and refrigerate.
  2. Remove batter from oven, 1 hour before baking.
  3. Assemble and sauté filling and cheese sauce.
  4. In the meantime, preheat oven to 425°F, inserting 2 9-inch pie plates or 1 9×13 baking dish into oven, in order to preheat them. (I use convection, so my temperature displays 400°F.)
  5. Remove pie plates, adding 2 T duck fat to each; if using 1 9×13 pan, place all 4 T duck fat into dish.
  6. Carefully pour batter over duck fat.
  7. Slowly, carefully, so as not to mix duck fat into batter, lift baking dish(es) into oven.
  8. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until golden brown. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR DURING FIRST 15-MINUTES OF BAKING.
  9. Serve with sprinkled powdered sugar, wedges of lemon and side of bacon, OR, spoon already-prepared filling into the pancake shell.
  10. Serve Hollandaise or cheese sauce on the side, allowing people to serve themselves (or not – I have to ration in our house!), along with hot pepper sauces, if desired.

Making Dutch Babies is Child’s Play

Strawberry-Apricot Dutch Babies