A big, poufy pancake, served hot from the oven with its loft still intact, is a classic brunch dish with several evocative names. Call it a Dutch baby, Dutch puff, German pancake; it’s a satisfying and dramatic dish that’s absurdly easy to make.
When I was a kid, I ate it on Sunday mornings drenched in lemon and powdered sugar. I’ve since had it smothered in fruit compotes, drizzled with honey, and glazed with jams and dulce de leche. It’s always been something sweet to start the day.
But this recipe is different. It turns the basic puffed pancake formula into something savory, cheesy, herby and peppery. It’s for those who prefer potato chips to cookies, the salty-toothed of the world.
With eggs and cheese as the focus instead of sugar, this pancake is like Yorkshire pudding meets a gougère meets a supersize popover. Crisp on the outside, steamy and custardy within, it’s coated in grated Parmesan that crisps up into a lacy, crunchy surface as it bakes.
You could serve this savory Dutch baby for brunch with a side of bacon or sausage in the name of happy overkill, and maybe a fruit salad to balance out the richness.
It also works for an elegant lunch with a bracing, bitter green salad (think watercress and radicchio).
And it’s cozy yet impressive as a light supper, perhaps served alongside a big pot of soup.
Savory Dutch Baby
Time: 45 minutes; yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons minced chives, parsley or tarragon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyère
Flaky sea salt, for garnish
Sriracha, for serving (optional)
Lemon wedges, for serving
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Whisk wet ingredients into dry until just combined. Stir in thyme and the other herbs.
Melt the butter in a heavy 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Let it cook until it smells nutty and browns, about 5 to 7 minutes, then swirl skillet so that butter coats bottom of pan.
Pour batter into pan and scatter cheese and flaky salt over the top. Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes. Serve with sriracha and lemon wedges on the side.