We’ve made hundreds, maybe thousands, of pannekoeken in the last six months and yet we’re still learning. We would like to share what we’ve learned and hope that you enjoy pannekoeken as much as we do.
What is Pannekoeken
In our classes and on line, we have described pannekoeken as a “Dutch version of a German pancake. Then we received an email from someone in Holland, “There is nothing German about a pannekoeken.” We’ll accept that.
Pannekoeken are an egg-rich pastry with a texture similar to a crepe. They are not sweet, more like a pancake in sweetness. In the oven, they form a giant bowl four or five inches tall and twelve inches wide. Often they are drizzled in syrup and eaten like pancakes but in the restaurants, they are loaded with fruits for breakfast or brunch and meats and veggies for lunch and dinner. To serve, cut the pannekoeken into wedges as you would a pizza. There is a never-ending variety of ways to fix and serve pannekoeken.
The following pannekoeken ideas came from The Pannekoeken Huis Restaurant in Maplewood, Minnesota.
- Rotterdam Pannekoeken
Made with gouda cheese, green peppers, onions, mushrooms and a choice of meats. Topped with fresh tomato slices and hollandaise sauce.
- Meat and Vegetable Pannekoeken
Made with green peppers, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, water chestnuts, peapods, and a choice of ham or bacon. Topped with gouda and cheddar cheese.
- Dutch Pot Pie Pannekoeken
Made with vegetables, turkey, and mashed potatoes. Topped with gouda and cheddar cheese. Served with brown gravy.
- Fresh Vegetable Pannekoeken
Made with green peppers, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, water chestnuts, peapods, and tomatoes. Topped with gouda and cheddar cheese.
- Shepard’s Pie Pannekoeken
Filled with green peppers, onions, black olives, mushrooms, and ground beef. Topped with mashed potatoes, gouda, and cheddar cheese. Served with brown gravy.
- Southwest Pannekoeken
Filled with taco-seasoned ground beef and cheeses. Topped with diced tomatoes, onions, green peppers, black olives, and tortilla chips. Served with sour cream and salsa.
How Pannekoeken Works
“How did you do that?” is a common reaction when people see pannekoeken coming from the oven. They are dramatic—but it’s not magic. You just pour batter in a hot pan; they form on their own. They work on steam; there is no leavening. In the hot oven, the batter expands and makes the turn around the radius in the pan, and starts to climb until it extends well above the sides of the pan. The keys seem to be heat, a nonstick surface, and a gentle curve where the pan bottom hits the sides.
About Flour Types
“When I make pannekoeken from scratch, it doesn’t rise as high as your mixes?” We’ve heard that several times. The recipe that you’re using is basically the same as our mix. Yes, we add buttermilk powder and some flavors but structurally, it’s the same. We think it’s the gluten in the all-purpose flour. In our mixes, we use a very soft pastry flour. Switch to pastry flour and see if that makes a difference.
We now sell a mix with whole wheat flour, our new Honey Gold Pannekoeken Mix. To get the whole wheat to perform like our pastry flour mix, we had to add just a bit of dough relaxer. You can now purchase our dough relaxer.
How sweet should a pannekoeken be? Pannekoeken are often served with syrups and so you don’t want the pannekoeken to be too sweet, more like a bread than a dessert. The syrup will add plenty of sweetness.
We wanted our Honey Gold pannekoeken to be just slightly sweet. Sugar didn’t work so we used honey which is a more intense sweetener. We wanted our Dutch Chocolate Pannekoeken Mix to be moderately sweet and it just wouldn’t work. We had to completely reengineer the mix.
Adding Nuts, Chips, and Flavors
We tried adding baking chips to pannekoeken. Baking chips won’t work. They melt before the pannekoeken has a chance to form. The melted chips settle to the bottom of the pan.
Chopped nuts work just fine. They are light enough that they will ride with the batter as it climbs the walls of the pan.
Adding flavors to pannekoeken is difficult. The high heats drives off much of the flavor. If you try adding flavor, plan on using three times as much as you might expect.
Pannekoeken are remarkably foolproof. We’ve few problems. If the oven isn’t hot enough, they won’t rise as high. In our ovens, if we stick the pannekoeken in the oven as soon as the temperature reaches 425 degrees, they may not be as high as we like. We’ve learned to let the oven sit at 425 degrees for five minutes before we bake our first one.
In our oven, the pannekoeken is baked in about eleven minutes. If yours is taking much longer than that, we suspect your oven is not hot enough. Check it with an oven thermometer or simply increase the temperature a bit.
If you have been to our class, you will notice that we swirl the melted butter around before adding the batter. Coating the pan surfaces with butter, especially where the rivets are, helps the pannekoeken rise.
Your pan must be absolutely nonstick. If your pan sticks, the pannekoeken will not rise. We recommend that you not use your pan on the stovetop; the pan is too light gauge for concentrated heat.
Like all nonstick pans, the surface eventually wears out. We’ve worn several out. We think we’re getting about 500 pannekoeken before a pan starts to stick.