This pancake cooks in a cast-iron skillet in a very hot oven and puffs up stunningly, albeit briefly. Then, just moments out of the oven, it deflates. But the result is a crispy pancake with a custardy interior. It’s impressive and delicious, but to pull it off, you have to bake it in a cast-iron skillet and you must use skim milk (reduced fat translates to more crispiness). This, and the cornstarch (also known for its crisping ability), is what makes the pancake crispy. Serve with fresh fruit and cottage cheese, or with pork sausage, vegetarian sausage or bacon.
It’s important that the skillet is at just the right temperature. If you don’t think you can prepare the Popover Pancake batter in 10 minutes (the time it takes for the cast-iron skillet to get hot), prepare the batter first, then place the skillet in the oven.
2 tablespoons neutral oil
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
Butter and syrup
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Place oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Heat the skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and salt.
4. In a stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium high heat until pale yellow, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add milk and vanilla, and beat until well blended. Add about ⅓ of the egg/milk mixture to the flour mixture. Whisk until the mixture is free of lumps. Add the remaining egg/milk mixture and whisk until smooth.
5. Remove the skillet from the oven and carefully whirl the oil around the pan, and immediately transfer the pancake mixture to the skillet.
6. Bake for about 20 minutes. Cut into 4 wedges, transfer wedges to serving plates. Serve immediately with butter and syrup.