Papaya Dutch Baby

by Dr. Hennie Fisher – University of Pretoria

This is one of those very simple yet unbelievably impressive recipes that one should include in your repertoire, to whip up a dessert in a pinch. The ingredients are standard items in any pantry, so this is an ideal fallback dessert in case one needs to present something unusual and smart at the last minute. The only drawback of this dish is that it cannot be made in advance – it must be served as soon as it is taken from the oven. However, one should make the batter well in advance so that the flour has time to fully hydrate. This means that one can switch on the oven when you sit down for main course, pour the batter in the pan halfway through your meal and when time for dessert comes, the Baby will be fully puffed and deliciously crisp around the edges. It deflates fairly quickly, so it is important to bake it long enough so that the structure is fully cooked.

A Dutch Baby is nothing other than a slightly sweet large Yorkshire pudding or an American Popover. The critical factor is that they should be light and airy inside and have a beautiful crisp exterior. Other names for a Dutch Baby are German Pfannkuchen, Bismarck pancake, Dutch puff or a Hootenanny – now if this doesn’t sound like a load of fun, I don’t know what does. It is believed that the Dutch Baby was introduced at Manca’s Café in Seattle, Washington around the first half of the 1900s, when the owner’s daughter corrupted the word ‘deutch’ to coin the name Dutch Baby.

Adding some papaya into the center is not traditional, as the Dutch Baby is most often served with forest berries and the like. But the papaya provides a nice tropical touch to the Baby and balances the baked batter perfectly. The papaya for this recipe is macerated with a little sugar and fresh lemon juice with some fresh granadilla added in. The papaya does create some liquid so do not place all of that into the center of the Baby, but reserve some to spoon over portions when it is served for a little extra sauce.

Ingredients for 4 to 6 peoples:

For the Dutch Baby:

120 g cake flour
2,5 ml (½ teaspoon) salt
45 ml (3 tablespoons) brown sugar
3 eggs
240 ml milk
45 g butter, melted
45 ml (3 tablespoons) neutral flavoured cooking oil

For the Papaya filling:

1 whole medium sized very ripe papaya, peeled and cut into attractive cubes
Juice of 1 lemon
30 ml (2 tablespoons) brown sugar
2 fresh granadillas, seeds and flesh removed
Powdered/icing sugar for decoration


Preheat the oven to 200°C with the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Make the batter for the Dutch Baby in an upright jug liquidizer. First place all the liquid ingredients, except the neutral oil, in the jug and thereafter the dry ingredients. Blitz for a minute or two until you have a smooth batter. Set aside to rest for no less than an hour, but even for a few hours. Place a 20 – 22cm pan with high sloping sides in the oven (check that the handle of the pan is oven proof). Heat the pan for at least 20 minutes in the oven. When you are ready to make the Dutch Baby, whip the pan out of the oven – mind that it is hot – and place it on high heat on the stove. Add the oil, swirl around and immediately add the batter. Immediately place the pan back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Thereafter turn the oven down to 190°C and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, dust with icing sugar and spoon the papaya in the center of the Dutch Baby. Cut into wedges and serve with a drizzle of the papaya juices.