Pannekoeken are amazingly reliable. We have made hundreds and hundreds with only a couple failures that were quickly diagnosed and remedied. (Actually, I can only recall three failures—two because of a sticky pan and one because of heat.)
Pannekoeken should turn out spectacular. (We’ve never been able to get a picture that does them justice.) They should rise up into a giant bowl, a foot across and protruding four inches above the pan. They should be golden yellow with a lightly browned top edge. The pannekoeken should be evenly thick, not more than about 3/8 inches thick all around.
If they don’t turn out looking like that, chances are it’s one of these problems:
- The oven must be hot enough. There is no leavening in the batter; it relies on steam. That’s why you preheat the pan for several minutes in the oven. The oven should be on 425 degrees. It should bake rapidly; in our oven it is done in eleven minutes. If it takes much longer than that, your oven is not hot enough.
- You must have the right pan. The key to the rise is a smooth surface, a gentle radius to the rise, and a layer of butter that floats the batter. Anything else will not work. It may buckle and taste okay but it won’t form a bowl.
- Your pan must be perfectly smooth. Someone cooked some eggs in one of our prized pans. They burnt it. While you couldn’t see damage, the pannekoeken stuck. If it sticks at all, it won’t rise.
- Preheat the pan. Preheating the pan for several minutes creates instant steam. Melt the butter in the pan in the oven until it is sizzling.
- Use the right mix. A pancake mix won’t work. Use a proven recipe or mix.
If you have the heat and the right pan, your pannekoeken should be spectacular.