Excuses to use cast iron: dutch baby pancakes!
Some months ago a coworker mentioned their partner making them Dutch baby pancakes for a special day. I was intrigued and googled, stashing away this Alton Brown recipe. A few weeks ago I finally made it in a 9 inch pan for family breakfast (partner, kiddo, my mom and me). They were delicious but somewhat awkward to make seconds. I made up a batch, we baked it, divided into quarters and repeat. Awkward. But! I have tiny cast iron pans! They are adorable little six inch diameter pans.
So I adapted the recipe to work with the small pans! And it worked spectacularly. The only "problem" now is we only have two 6-inch cast iron and to do it right for a group needs more pans! Read inside for converted recipe!
How did I convert? First I wanted to understand volumes of batter. The original recipe just calls for pouring all the batter into one pan. The batter is very runny so I figured that if I calculated the volume of the 9-inch pan (half inch height of batter) versus the 6-inch pan I could guess at how much batter to put in the smaller pan and thus could do a big batch of batter and just scoop out what I need. After a little googling to convince myself that, yes, I was remembering the formula for a cylinder correctly, I determined the small pan was 0.44 the volume of the big pan. Of course, I was using an idealized cylinder (rather than the sloped wall pan actuality). I decided to round this down to a third. So one original recipe should yield three small pans of Dutch baby pancakes.
But three total pancakes is not enough! Also I didn't want to mixup batter one batch at a time. I immediately tripled it. Then once it was done I had the total volume for three batches, divided that up into 9 and got out a very convenient half cup of batter per small pan.
- Some coconut oil or butter for each cast iron pan (original Alton recipe calls for a tablespoon of butter for a large pan so I just kind of put in a teaspoon or so).
- 6 tablespoons butter for the batter, melted and cooled. Vegan options would work here (I used coconut oil the first time).
- 1.5 cups flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons salt (I actually shorted this a little as it seemed too much)
- 6 eggs (I have not tried any vegan substitutes here)
- 1.5 cups milk (we used soy milk once and reconstituted dry milk once)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (tripling would call for 1.5 but I like it to be stronger).
- Heat the oven to 375F. Heat the little adorable pans with their coconut oil or butter, then put in the oven to heat thoroughly.
- Mix together the flour, sugar and salt and set aside.
- Whisk together the milk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. I used a large pyrex measuring cup (8 cups capacity marked) because it let me know the volume at the end and is also convenient when dispensing later.
- Add the flour mixture and whisk together fully until smooth.
- For each round of pancakes, pull the hot pans out of the oven, pour a half cup of batter in (it will sizzle a little!), then put back into the oven.
- Bake for about 12 minutes without opening the oven door. They sadly deflate pretty quick after being removed so serve right away!
- Let your guests add delicious toppings like jam, maple syrup, or apple sauce.
Each round takes at least about 12 minutes so with only two pans, my mom and kiddo got the first round, then partner and I had to wait. And wait. So obviously we need at least two more pans. ;)