A savory pancake so large that it fills the whole plate. This is one of the most loved food in The Netherlands and with reason: melted cheese, crispy bacon and sautéed onions make this a fulfilling meal that can be eaten for either breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!
If you’ve ever been to The Netherlands, you may have noticed some restaurants called Pannenkoekenhuis, literally pancake houses. If you’re from the US, you may be familiar with pancake restaurant but it’s not really the same.
Pannenkoekenhuis are Dutch pancake restaurants which serve only Dutch pancakes in many different flavors. Compared to the US version, in Holland they serve mostly savory pancakes. There are only a few sweet versions which include plain with syrup and the traditional apple, cinnamon and raisins.
The savory variants can include anything, from vegetables to whole dishes. Like the Stamppot Pancake, a pancake topped with mashed potatoes and sausage: 2 classic Dutch meals in 1. But the most common ones are ham and cheese or bacon, cheese and onions. But really, once you have the dough, you can top them with mushrooms, salami, bell peppers and so on.
A peculiarity of the Dutch is that they like to mix sweet and savory, very much like Americans. Which is very far off my comfort zone as an Italian. So you guess that, when the pancake arrives on the table, Dutch people immediately grab their Schenkstroop (sugar syrup) and generously pour it on top of all the savory goodness (and, in my opinion, ruining it forever).
I have to admit that after 6 years of living in the Netherlands, I still haven’t had the courage of pouring sugar syrup on top on my bacon, cheese and onion pancake. Let me know if you try.
American Pancakes vs. Dutch Pancakes
You may have heard of Dutch Baby Pancake (which to be honest I’ve never seen in The Netherlands whatsoever). But Dutch Pancakes, or Pannenkoeken, are something else.
Comparing them to American pancakes, Dutch pancakes have more eggs and are less fluffy because they don’t have baking powder. Like French Crêpes. Also, instead of serving several small pancakes in a stack, they serve only a big one that fills the whole plate.
If you want some classic pancakes but with a spin, try my Pear and Chocolate Chip Pancakes.
Sweet pannenkoeken are served with fruits and syrups on top. Instead, the ingredients for the savory ones are most often cooked in the batter (but it really depends on the restaurant preferences), as in this recipe.
If the pancakes are topped with the ingredients, they’re usually rolled and then eaten by cutting roll slices. While, if the ingredients are in the batter, they eat it by cutting bites with fork and knife, since it will be thicker, similar to a Frittata.
Dutch Pancake with Bacon, Cheese and Onion
- 2 Eggs
- 300 ml (1 1/3 cup) Milk
- 165 g (3/4 cup) Flour
- 1 Onion
- 125 g (4.4 oz) Smoked Bacon, cubed
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with milk and then slowly add the sifted flour and salt. Mix until you have a smooth batter, then set aside.
- Peel and cut the onions in half lenghtwise, then thinly slice them.
- In a large pan, add the bacon cubes and turn on the heat. When they start to sweat, add the onions and sauté until they start to brown.
- Remove half of the filling from the pan, then pour half of the batter in the pan.
- Cover the pan and let it cook at medium-low heat for a few minutes, checking the bottom once in a while to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- When the botton is browned, flip the pancake using a large spatula. Add the grated cheese on top and cook for a few minutes more until the other side is brown too.