What Is a Pannekoek?

Sheri Cyprus

A pannekoek is a large, oven-baked Dutch pancake. Although pannekoeken may be fairly thin, they differ from a French crepe in that they're denser. These are also different from American pancakes which tend to be smaller and thicker as well as much fluffier in texture. Also, crepes and pancakes are usually cooked on an oiled or buttered griddle or stove top skillet, whereas pannekoeken are baked in the oven in a pan called a Dutch baby.

An apple, which is used to make pannekoek.
An apple, which is used to make pannekoek.

A Dutch baby ovenproof pan looks a lot like a bowl-shaped skillet with two half-circular handles rather than one long handle. The surface of a baked pannekoek looks more like that of a pizza than French or American-style pancakes since chunks or slices of meat, as well as melted cheese, may be used as topping on savory versions of this Netherlands pancake. Sweet pannekoeken feature fruit and often have sugar added to the basic batter. Pannekoeken may be baked and eaten without any toppings, but most cooks like to add something to them.

Gouda and other cheeses can be used to top a savory pannekoek.
Gouda and other cheeses can be used to top a savory pannekoek.

The ingredients used to make pannekoeken are the same as for any pancakes: eggs, flour, milk, salt and butter. Some sugar may be added to sweet pannekoeken batter. The batter is often blended with a hand-held whisk. The exact savory pannekoek batter recipe may vary in its steps, but a basic method is to beat the eggs, then whisk in the flour, milk, and salt. The butter is placed into the ovenproof Dutch baby pan to melt as the oven heats to a moderately high temperature.

The pannekoek batter is poured into the hot pan. Toppings are added before the batter-filled Dutch baby pan is returned to the oven to bake. Many different combinations of toppings can be added for both savory and sweet pannekoeken. What is known as a Dutch apple pancake is a popular treat in the United States. Sauteed apples may be added to the pannekoeken batter along with brown sugar and cinnamon before the dish is baked to serve warm topped with whipped cream.

Other possible combinations for sweet pannekoeken are blueberries with cream cheese and sliced strawberries with sour cream. Syrup may be added on top. Dutch gouda cheese is a popular topping on a savory pannekoeken. Along with the cheese, sauteed toppings such as bacon, sausage, peppers and onions may be placed onto savory Dutch pancakes before baking.

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