These are the Real Deal Authentic German Pancakes. The recipe below was shared with my grandpa by a visitor from Germany many years ago and these pancakes are delicious; light and egg-y with delicate, crispy edges. Resembling French-style crepes but a little thicker and with a bit more tang, thanks to the addition of buttermilk.
The recipe was recorded in a family journal that my grandfather started a few years after my grandmother died back in the 80’s. He kept this open-journal at our cabin and initially used it to record events that happened and sometimes would catalog repairs or projects going on at the time. He wrote in all capital letters that the family recognized as ‘Grandpa-style’ because he was known to yell a lot. Not to be terse or mean, but to make sure we all knew how important what he was telling us was. Eventually, weekend cabin guests started to write little passages in the journal as well, usually thanking him for a great weekend and adding highlights about their favorite part of the visit.
One weekend in 1986, he was fortunate enough to entertain a few old friends from Germany, where he’d spent some time in his late teens back in 1933 just as Hitler was coming to power. After which, Grandpa became well-known for spouting off some funny or profound remark in Deutsch, whenever the occasion seemed to require. Back to the pancakes- I still remember him telling me about the German pancakes one of the ladies had made for everyone during the weekend and how impressed he was with himself for getting her to write down the recipe in the journal before writing her own message to “Lieber Mick” who had been a “good boy”.
Let me share this special recipe with you now (And the Cold Cookie recipe is a bonus, but good luck finding some of the ingredients)-
German Pancakes are easy to make but they are a little delicate to handle. After mixing the simple list of ingredients, melt a nice amount of real butter on a heated non-stick surface. I’ve used skillets, cast iron camp griddles, and electric griddles, all with success.
Once your butter is melted, slowly pour the thin batter onto the pan, either tilting the skillet to spread it thin or by pouring out toward the edges.
The pancakes only take a few seconds on each side. Once the sides start to crisp and the center is the only shiny part, flip them over.
For best results when flipping, if you don’t have a very large pancake turner it helps to use two spatulas under each side of the pancake. Alternately, if you don’t care about both sides of the pancake being browned, they’re perfectly tasty after cooking on just one side. You’ll know it’s done when the middle is no longer shiny.
Shown folded into fourths in the photo below, but we like to eat them flat; you can also roll them like a French crepe. Delicious with pure maple or berry syrup drizzled over the top, or with fruit and a little dusting of powdered sugar.
One final note about this treasured recipe “find”, and this always makes me a bit sad when I make the German Pancakes… my grandpa never got to have this recipe made for him after his German friends went back home. Soon the recipe was buried several weekends and years back in the journal, all but forgotten until around twenty years later when we came across it and remembered Grandpa talking about them. So Grandpa, I’m sorry I never made them for you while you were still with us, but I make them in your honor now.
- Real butter for frying
- 4 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Set aside a 12-inch non-stick skillet or electric griddle.
- In a medium bowl, crack 4 eggs and combine well with a fork. Add the sugar and stir again.
- Add the flour and stir just lightly until streaks of flour still visible. Slowly add the milk and buttermilk, stirring to help prevent clumps. If clumps won't go away, don't worry, this is fine.
- Heat the pan or griddle to medium heat (or 350F degrees for electric).
- Melt enough butter to prevent sticking and to add flavor. Slowly pour batter onto pan until it reaches the size you want.
- The egg-y batter will cook up and bubble quickly along the edges, continue cooking until just the middle is shiny, then carefully flip the pancake over. I use two spatulas to do this if the pancake is large. Alternately, you could just cook the pancake on the first side and when the middle of the pancake is no longer shiny, it's done and you can flip it onto your plate. I like both sides browned a bit so I flip them. If you flip, just cook an additional 30 seconds until the second side starts to brown lightly.
- Serve either flat, rolled, or folded into fours. If you're wanting to serve rolled German pancakes (as crepes), keep the batter quite thin in the pan, tilting the pan to spread batter out from center.
- These pancakes are tasty with just real syrup poured over them, or with fruit of choice and powdered sugar.