In her biweekly column, A Shared Tradition, CIA grad and amateur food historian Molly Siegler cruises around the world (and into the depths of her pantry) to explore the versatility of a single food item.
This week: Molly sinks her teeth into egg-rich pastries literally exploding with flavor.
Photo by Nicole Franzen; styled by Mariya Yufest
I have a thing for popovers. The egg-based pastries are rich and light, crispy and soft all at the same time -- and so easy to create! Popovers puff up (and sometimes over, thus the name) on the strength of the eggs in the batter. The batter is thin and versatile enough to endure lots of experimentation.
My uncle spent a year in Austria in college, and every Sunday night the students living in the boarding house where he stayed would share a giant eggy pancake. The pancake was thinly sliced in strips and served with lemon wedges and powdered sugar. He became so accustomed to this Sunday night tradition, he couldn’t imagine heading back to Kansas without the recipe. The German pancakes he developed with the boarding house cook have been a part of my family's food traditions for decades.
Yorkshire pudding is the mother of all egg batter pastries and is traditionally cooked in the fat rendered from a beef roast.
The original popovers are the Colonial riff on Yorkshire pudding.
German pancakes are one of my favorite things on the planet.
Braziian cheese puffs (pão de queijo) are best served piping hot with your favorite cocktail or afternoon coffee.
The makings of a German pancake party. If the batter looks funny, you're on the right track (left). The finished product, liberally dusted with powdered sugar and waiting to be doused with fresh lemon juice (right). (Photos by Molly Siegler)
These are just a few of the ways I like to travel by way of the popover. What other regionally inspired flavors would you use to make this puffed up pastry your own? Share your ideas in the comments section below.
Do you love a good food theme as much as I do? Tell me what food items or themes you'd like to see featured in this column and your idea could be the subject of an upcoming post!
Like this post? See Molly's previous topic: Egg Noodles.
Molly is a chef and food educator living and cooking in Northern Wisconsin. When she's not dreaming up themed menus, she's dishing out other delicious content as the editorial assistant for the Whole Foods Market Cooking program.