Dutch Pancakes, not to be confused with Dutch Baby Pancakes, are similar to crepes and can be filled with both sweet and savory fillings. Go international for dinner tonight and try some Pannenkoeken!
Have you ever noticed that there are some forms of food that are universal? Take dumplings for instance. If you look at most cultures around the globe, they all have some sort of dumpling as part of their cuisine. Many also have some sort of slow roasted meat cooked with fire, what we would call barbecue. It also seems like a lot of cultures have some form of pancake.
Now of course the American pancakes we all know and love are light, fluffy pillows of blueberry or chocolate chip filled heaven that are typically drenched in butter and dripping with maple syrup. Then there are Chinese scallion pancakes, savory and delicious. North Africa has Beghrir, a pancake made with semolina flour. In Europe, or at least in France, Belgium, and The Netherlands, pancakes are thin and often served in a variety of ways that include both savory and sweet options.
Dutch pancakes, or pannenkoeken (not to be confused with Dutch Baby Pancakes, which are actually German), are a lot like the crepes you see in France and Belgium. While the batter is slightly different and crepes are typically folded over to resemble a triangle to be served, pannenkoeken are often rolled around whatever filling your little heart desires. Fillings can be savory or sweet–in fact, we always eat pannenkoenen for dinner and for dessert on the nights I make them! In The Netherlands, they often either top their pancakes with a squeeze of lemon juice and some powdered sugar, or a thick apple syrup called Appelstroop. If you want to try it, you can find it here.
I always seem to do a buffet of toppings, and you can do the same! I usually set out ham, cheese (go Dutch with some delicious Gouda! I also love to use Muenster), sauteed mushrooms and onions, cinnamon apples, Nutella, peanut butter, jam, powdered sugar, and, of course, appelstroop. Get creative! The pannenkoeken themselves don’t have a lot a flavor, so they’re pretty much a blank canvas. I might try doing a lox style one next time, with smoked salmon, cream cheese, onion, and capers. Who knows. We’ll see where my mood takes me.
The pancakes themselves are very easy to make, if a little time consuming thanks to only being able to cook one or two at a time. You’ll need a large non-stick pan for this; I use two 10-inchers. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and my personal American touch, sugar. If you look, you won’t find a traditional Dutch recipe that adds sugar, but I feel like it adds a touch of flavor. If you want to leave it out, feel free. In a large measuring cup, measure 2 cups of milk and whisk in two large eggs. Now, combine the wet and dry ingredients, adding the wet in batches. Whisk well, making sure there are no lumps. If you want to use the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or a hand mixer, feel free, but this is one recipe that I usually just mix myself. The batter will be runny…don’t panic! That’s how it’s supposed to be!
Heat a little oil in your skillets (on my stove I go for just a tick over medium heat. Just enough to make the pan hot, but not screaming, smoking hot). I usually just use a spray of Pam, but use vegetable or canola oil if you’d prefer. As soon as your pan is hot, add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter to the pan (I just use a ladle) and swirl the batter so it ends up covering the entire surface of the pan. Nice and thin.
The pancake is ready to flip when you see the edges start to pull away from the pan, and if you shake the pan the pancake has released from the bottom. If you’re fancy and talented, just pick the pan up and flip the pancake. If you’re super duper clumsy like me, a spatula/turner works jjjuuussstt fine. The pancake will need less than a minute on the opposite side.
To keep the finished pancakes warm as you prepare the rest, either stick them on a plate in a warm oven (my lowest setting is 170 degrees), or keep a pan with some water simmering on the stove, put a plate over the water (but not touching the water), and as you stack your pancakes on there, cover them. When they’re all done, take the stack to the table and dig in!
Pannenkoeken - Dutch Pancakes
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 cups Milk
- 1 tsp Sugar
- A Pinch of Salt
- 2 Eggs
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
- In a large mixing cup, measure two cups of milk and whisk in two large eggs.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients, whisking until completely smooth.
- Heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Add a bit of the oil of your choice. Once the oil is hot, use a ladle to add about 1/2 cup of the batter to the pan, swirling the pan as you add it so that the batter spreads to the edges.
- Cook the pancake until the edges start to pull away and the bottom releases from the pan. Just shake the pan and if it moves, it's ready. Flip the pancake and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute.
- To keep the finished pancakes warm while you cook the rest, either stack on a plate in a warm oven, or place on a double boiler set-up and cover.