A Mother’s Day Pancake Anyone Can Make

Ask Chef Phyllis:

I need something special that kids (ages eight, ten, and twelve) can help prepare on Mother’s Day for our mom. She loves pancakes, but I don’t think I can manage frying all those pancakes without help. Is there a big pancake that’s easy and special too? Any suggestions? Mariead Q. from Cambridge, Massachusetts

The memories you make today will last a lifetime, Mairead. A special meal that you and your siblings make together would be a lovely Mother’s Day gift. And you can surely eliminate last-minute fuss when planning brunch since this elegant recipe won’t take longer than a few minutes to prepare. Many hands make light work, my mother always said!

Delicious, easy, and cleverly made in the oven, a large Dutch baby or German pancake puffs like a souffle and makes quite an impression. If you’re comfortable using the oven, I think this recipe may be the answer. The use of a spatula and the perfect timing needed to properly make pancakes in a frying pan or on a griddle is a learned skill. It takes practice, but that’s another post.

Dutch babies are traditionally cooked in a large, heavy cast-iron skillet. But for easier handling, I suggest you use two (9-inch) layer cake pans. They’ll still rise magnificently all by themselves in a moderately hot oven.

Dutch Baby

The following recipe calls for apples in the batter. But you may choose peaches, ripe pears, or another fruit if your mom prefers.

4 eggs
¾ cup white whole-wheat flour (or ¼ cup whole wheat combined with ½ cup unbleached white flour)
¾ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup butter (half a stick)
2 apples, peaches, or pears, skin on, thinly sliced (I use one each Granny Smith and Gala)
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or maple syrup
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Special equipment: 2 (9-inch) layer cake pans (preferred for kids) or a 12-inch cast-iron skillet


  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Place cake pans in the oven.
  2. With wire whisk or hand mixer, beat eggs, flour, milk, salt, and vanilla in a small bowl for 1 minute.
  3. Protecting your hands with oven mitts, carefully remove pans from the oven. Place 2 tablespoons butter in each pan, rolling it around until it melts and coats the sides of the pans.
  4. Arrange half of the apples in each pan. Using a spoon, divide half the batter in each pan.
  5. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the batter. Return to oven and bake uncovered 20–25 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately (as they sink rapidly.

Chef’s note: When my children were young (and in my opinion, they’re never too young), two activities took center stage—reading and cooking. Hanging on my hip, they’d  chose a book to read with the same enthusiasm that they’d chose a vegetable or fruit in Poppa’s garden. This kind of hands-on, “soil to table” experience contributed to their lifelong desire for knowledge and a health. What an advantage!

Image from iStock/ALLEKO


Phyllis Quinn

Phyllis Quinn is a chef, food writer, and founder of Udderly Cultured, a class that teaches how to make homemade fresh mozzarella, butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other cultured products. Private lessons are available. For a reservation, call Phyllis at 970-221-5556 or email her at phyllisquinn2@gmail.com. Rediscover nearly lost cooking methods and get one-of-a-kind recipes in her books The Slow Cook Gourmet and Udderly Cultured: The Art of Milk Fermentation.

Products by Phyllis Quinn

Related Topics

healthy recipes | Mother's Day recipes

Leave a Reply