People talk about having drama in their lives like it’s a bad thing.
Granted, no one likes drama involving teenagers, bank balances or cellphones dropped in lakes.
But when drama emerges from eggs, flour, milk and sugar, that can be a very good thing. With Oktoberfests on the horizon, a theatrically puffed German pancake is a delicious way to lend some pizazz to a celebratory brunch, or a simple breakfast.
The trick is having everything — and everyone — ready at the moment the pancake is done. The entertainment value of this German treat is being able to witness its poufy drama before it quickly, inevitably, begins to deflate. Cut and served with the season’s best apples, sautéed in butter and sugar until they begin to caramelize, a German pancake can bring down the house.
Heat is the key to your pancake achieving the greatest inflation. A preheated pan does double duty, melting the necessary butter, then crisping the bottom surface of the batter to keep it from sticking to the pan.
The resulting pancake has the bite of a crepe, the loft of a souffle, the egginess of custard and the brown shoulders of a popover. Some like to serve it with preserves or fresh fruit. A squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of powdered sugar is traditional. Crumbled bacon and maple syrup could be ready for their close-up.
Because a German pancake bakes in only 15 minutes, you can serve one while a second one bakes, which is nice if you’re serving a number of people.
If there are kids in the kitchen, turn on the oven light so they can watch the batter rise and inflate into eggy escarpments. If there only are adults, turn the light on anyway.
Because we all like a little drama in our lives. □