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by Dennis Weaver
Last weekend, Debbie had visitors in from Minnesota. For breakfast she made huckleberry German pancakes. They were awed. They claimed that there was nothing that scrumptious in Minnesota. Subtract a few points because of gracious guests and it was still very good; I've had her huckleberry German pancakes. But she makes them so often, not just because they are very good but because they are easy.
My "go-to” breakfast for guests is pannekoeken, not German pancakes, because they too are easy and scrumptious. They're both very good—just different. So what is the difference between pannekoeken and German pancakes?
Pannekoeken forms a big, tall bowl while German pancakes roll and buckle. (I can describe the difference better with my hands.)
With a pannekoeken, the fruit goes into the formed bowl after it's baked. With a German pancake, the fruit goes in before it's baked.
A pannekoeken is baked in a specialty pan, a pannekoeken pan, or a rounded skillet with a nonstick surface. A German pancake is often baked in a rectangular pan.
A pannekoeken is often loaded with a savory filling or with meat and potatoes. We don't have a single German pancake recipe that does not include fruit.
How Do you Make a German Pancake
There are a ton of recipes for German pancake batter; Debbie uses a mix. It just makes it very quick and easy. Surprisingly, it's a pannekoeken mix. It's the preparation method and the pan that makes the difference, not the batter. Even the ratio of milk, eggs, and mix is the same.
1. Select a pan of an appropriate size. A three-egg German pancake works well in an 8-inch square pan or 9-inch round pan. You can double the recipe and use a 9 x 13-inch pan. A four egg German pancake works best in 9-inch square pan.
2. Heat the pan. Like with a pannekoeken, you preheat the pan with butter in it. Be careful not to scorch the butter.
3. Mix the batter. Mix the batter while the pan is heating. If you use a mix, it's only mix, milk, and eggs whisked together so it only takes a few moments.
4. Make the German pancake. First, mix the brown sugar with the melted butter. Then pour the batter over the brown sugar. Then distribute the fruit over the batter.
5. Bake the German Pancake. Use a hot oven, usually 425 degrees. It will take 12 to 24 minutes to bake depending on the pan size and the batch size. It's done when the pancake is puffed and the edges are brown.
6. Serve your German pancake right out of the oven—they are not good cold—with your favorite syrup.
Huckleberry (or Blueberry) German Pancake
This is Debbie's "go-to" German pancake recipe. But then, she has huckleberries. In August, she and her husband Ben take their two little girls and ride horses up into the canyons in the Big Hole Mountains where they find huge huckleberry patches. Even where they are profuse, they are slow picking but she claims they are worth it. She freezes them for the winter simply by washing them and sealing them in airtight containers.
For the rest of us, not fortunate enough to live in the foothills of the Big Hole Mountains, we'll make do just fine with blueberries.
This is a three-egg German pancake that fits in an 8 x 8-inch pan or a 9-inch round pan or can be doubled to fit in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
German Apple Pancake
A German apple pancake is a classic.
We've made pannekoeken by sautéing apple slices in cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter and loading it into the pannekoeken when it comes from the oven. This German pancake is similar but the apple slices are oven sautéed in the butter and brown sugar as the pan heats in the oven and once tender-crisp, the batter is poured over the top.
This is a four-egg German pancake that fits in a 9 x 9-inch pan.
Peach German Pancake
I love fresh peaches and if the peaches are good, this is my favorite German pancake. I particularly like it topped with caramel whipped cream. Then it's more of dessert than a breakfast treat.
To make the caramel whipped cream, simply substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar when you make whipped cream and use caramel flavor instead of vanilla.
This is a three-egg German pancake that fits in an 8 x 8-inch pan or a 9-inch round pan.
Banana German Pancake
I never would have thought to have added bananas to a German pancake. But then, we add bananas to pannekoeken all the time. (A pannekoeken with sliced bananas, cinnamon cream syrup, and whipped cream rivals a banana cream pie.)
Debbie and Sara in our test kitchen created this recipe. It's very good—sort of like banana pie for breakfast.
This is a three-egg German pancakes that fits in an 8 x 8-inch pan or a 9-inch round pan.
Dennis Weaver is the founder of The Prepared Pantry, a full line kitchen store in Rigby, Idaho. The Prepared Pantry sells kitchen tools, gourmet foods, and baking ingredients including hundreds of hard-to-find ingredients.