So I grew up in Michigan, where we worship the donut, fritter, or a good slice of coffee cake with an actual cup of coffee for breakfast, so when I read about Dutch Babies, I knew that I would be writing about them and making this intriguing breakfast meal real soon.
Let me clarify, I’m not talking real, diaper wetting Dutch Babies, I’m talking about the popover like goodness that is baked in a cast iron skillet and topped with many varieties of great ingredients, Dutch Babies. The Dutch Baby is a cross between a pancake and a thick crepe and has been likened to a popover when it comes out of the oven. The Dutch Baby does “fall” when it is first out of the oven, but that’s part of it’s charm.
Modeled after the German Pfannkuchen or thick pancake, this hybrid found its origins in the early twentieth century at a Seattle based eatery, Manca’s Cafe. The name of the popular breakfast fare was said to be named by Mr. Manca’s daughter. The original recipe is simple enough. Eggs, flour, sugar, and milk incorporate the basic ingredients. Over the years the recipe has evolved to include fruit, meat, vegetables, cheese, and powdered sugar or vanilla for a sweet Dutch Baby.
The secret to a good Dutch Baby seems to be the cast iron pan. It cooks and lends a crispiness to the outside of the baby, while the inside is firm in texture like a popover. The Dutch Baby seems to be a breakfast staple in diners and cafes across Seattle and is a little know, hidden treasure to the rest of the cooking world.
Mr. Manca’s cafe closed down in the 1950’s, but his legacy in the Dutch Baby lives on. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m hungry for breakfast and need to fire up the cast iron skillet. If you would like to watch the video that started my fascination with the Dutch Baby, you can click here.