The puff pancake—which also goes by German pancake, Bismarck pancake, and Dutch baby (but why?)—is a peak weekend breakfast or weekday breakfast-for-dinner. Think less American pancakes, which are halfway to cake, more oversize popover or Yorkshire pudding: eggy, crusty, and Grand Canyon–shaped. It’s also mostly hands-off. Really, this is my favorite thing about puff pancakes—you can whisk up the batter in a matter of minutes, pour it into a blistering skillet, and let the oven take care of the rest. While that bakes, work on whatever toppings you want. My go-to is sautéed kale, sunny eggs, and crème fraîche (not in the least because the eggs and crème fraîche are already in the pancake). But don’t let that stop you from swapping in another green (say, chard or spinach), or replacing it altogether with smoked salmon or bacon or prosciutto. And if you can’t find crème fraîche, sour cream is a great understudy.
Adapted with permission from Big Little Recipes by Emma Laperruque, published by Ten Speed Press, October 26, 2021.
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 2
- Puff Pancake
(60 grams) crème fraîche
(65 grams) rye flour
freshly ground black pepper
Tuscan kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Turn on the oven to 450°F and immediately stick a 9-inch or 10-inch cast-iron skillet inside. Now work on the pancake batter. Combine the eggs, crème fraîche, and 1⁄3 cup water in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and whisk again.
- Use oven mitts to transfer the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add the butter, swirling the pan for full coverage. Once the butter has melted, whisk the batter, then pour it into the pan. Turn off the stove and get the skillet into the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pancake has dramatically puffed.
- While the pancake is baking, work on the greens. Melt ½ tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until it just starts to brown, then add the kale and toss a couple of times. Cover the pan and cook for 1 minute, until wilted. Uncover, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for another 3 minutes or so, tossing occasionally, until tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed, then transfer the greens to a bowl and lower the heat to medium-low.
- Add the remaining ½ tablespoon butter to the emptied skillet. Once that’s melted, crack in the eggs, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, checking frequently, until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Turn off the heat, uncover the skillet, and let the eggs hang out until the puff pancake is ready.
- Serve the hot puff pancake with the greens, eggs, and spoonfuls of crème fraîche: You can arrange everything in the cast-iron skillet, or cut the pancake into pieces, transfer to two plates, and divvy up the toppings there.