A passion for food + fashion

A Pan and a Pancake

In Food on October 21, 2012 at 9:04 am

There are certain luxuries in life that are worth the splurge. Natural linen bath towels, Maldon sea salt, face cream, and a 1920s Griswold 12-inch cast iron skillet. Because I do not have that perfectly well-seasoned skillet handed down through generations, I cheated and bought one on eBay.

Instantly, it became part of the family. Saturday mornings now look a little like this.

6 am (if I’m lucky): wake-up call from two hungry boys. “Mommy, are you going to make The Pancake?” the four-year-old asks. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, make coffee. In a medium bowl, I mix together 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole milk, two lightly beaten eggs, and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.

6:35 am: Melt 4 tablespoons butter in skillet while giving baby a bottle.

6:40am: When butter is very hot, pour in batter and bake in oven until golden and puffy, about 15 to 20 minutes.

7am: Sprinkle with powdered sugar, squeeze with lemon and serve to a hungry four-year-old and his daddy.

I discovered this recipe for David Eyre’s Pancake in The Essential New York Times Cookbook, and it originally appeared in the paper in 1966. Some of you might know this pancake by another name, a Dutch Baby, which I’d describe as a cross between a crepe and a popover. A well-seasoned skillet with sides high enough for the pancake to puff up against is essential—as is starting the weekend with a happy family.

  1. This recipe ignited a memory and sent me to my ancient recipe file where I have kept a copy of the recipe manuscript page prepped for SUNSET magazine’s 1976 article on “Dutch Babies.” I was a copy editor there at that time, and while working on that story, I could not wait to try out this pancake. Using my copy of that “prep” page, I made & served the “Baby” for Sunday brunch dozens of times, for decades. Quoting from my faded 8″x11″ editorial-prep pages–a copy of what I had sent into production 36 years ago, here is the story behind this creation from Manca’s, a long-closed Seattle restaurant:

    “How did the Dutch Baby come to be? We asked Eugene Manca, who worked with his father, Victor, in the restaurant, then ran it himself for its last 15 years. It was Victor’s idea, created specifically for his restaurant menu. Since the recipe had been inspired by a big German-style pancake, but diminished for single servings, the family decided its name should be ‘Dutch Baby.'”

    SUNSET goes on to give a version of the family-secret recipe for Dutch Babies according to 4 pan sizes. Thanks for taking me back to a fond memory of food and editing when I was in my twenties.

  2. Delicious! Don’t be surprised if I show up one of these Saturdays- I’ll get up early for those “babies”!

  3. Yum! I think I can do this & will give it a go one of these weekends. Maybe as a special treat while visiting my nieces…I love special treats!

  4. Bob! I never knew that the G stood for Griswald. Pants always told me it stood for Gerber! I will try this delicious looking recipe!

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