A Dutch baby is basically a pancake and a popover combined—and it will quickly become an easy dinner go-to.
I always thought Dutch baby pancakes had to be dusted with powdered sugar and served with strawberries for breakfast. And because I tend to prefer savory breakfasts, I never really gave Dutch babies the time of day. But when I realized I could give the popular oven pancake a savory makeover, I quickly jumped on board.
Dutch baby pancakes, with their crispy edges and soft, pancake-like centers, are the perfect blank slate for any number of flavors. Because I love anything given the Cacio e Pepe treatment, I decided to add Pecorino cheese and a lot of black pepper. The result is a five-ingredient dinner ready in just 25 minutes—and kids will not only love how it tastes, but they'll have fun watching it puff in the oven. You can grab the full recipe for my Cacio e Pepe Dutch Baby, or make any flavor you like following the guidelines below:
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or other oven-proof skillet) in oven. Pre-heating the pan allows the butter to melt as soon as it hits, and will help the pancake rise quickly in the oven.
2. Whisk together 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, 2/3 cup whole milk, 3 large eggs, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium bowl until no lumps remain. This is your base, but here’s where things get fun. For my Cacio e Pepe version, I added 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. But for a spicy/smoky Dutch baby, you could add smoked paprika. For a fresh, springy option, stir in a handful of chopped chives, dill, parsley, or thyme. Or, if you do choose to go sweet, add up to 1/4 cup sugar (and some cocoa powder if you’re craving chocolate).
3. Remove the hot skillet from the oven, add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, and swirl to melt. Immediately pour the batter into the hot skillet. Top with grated cheese and flaky salt or chopped scallions, if you so desire.
4. Bake until golden and puffed, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve as-is, or with toppings: savory babies are great with a simple green salad, lemon wedges, or a dollop or ricotta. Sweet babies are begging for fresh fruit, or whipped cream.
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For my other favorite Cacio e Pepe recipe, check out this monkey bread.