I know it’s wrong of me, but I have to admit that sometimes I envy those fortunate folks who grew up in the kitchen–whose mothers or fathers or grandparents taught them to cook or whose great-aunt from the old country couldn’t speak a word of English but showed them immeasurable joys with their traditional cooking. I didn’t even really start to learn to cook till I was midway through college, and even then I learned most everything from cookbooks. There was one thing that Grandma showed me though.
Once I had learned to cook a few things, it occurred to me that the sky was the limit in the kitchen. I could (finances and time willing) produce whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. There was a dessert that Grandma made that I always looked forward to. She made it for holidays and special occasions and sometimes just because she knew I loved it so much. That dessert was platz kuchen (which I think roughly translates from German as “flat cake”). If anyone else knows this dessert, they’re laughing at me a bit right now. It’s incredibly simple, but when I was a kid, I thought it was this exotic creation that only occurred at my Grandma’s house, and I adored it.
At any rate, she showed me how to make it, and that’s what I decided I was having for breakfast this morning. It’s the most wonderful thing – whenever I make platz kuchen, I think of Grandma. Oddly enough, of all my relatives, she’s the one I feel I can most relate to, and I love it that I have this thing that will always remind me of her, and that actually makes me think warmly of my childhood.
Stir together the egg yolks, 1 t sugar, and milk till they are well combined.
Carefully add the first 2 ½ oz of flour and stir till a fairly sturdy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter.
As you begin to form the dough and roll it out, add enough of the remaining flour to keep the dough from sticking. You’ll roll the dough fairly thin, nearly to the thinness of pasta dough, again, taking care to keep it from sticking.
Carefully transfer the dough to the heated half-sheet pan. It should essentially fill the pan. While my grandmother’s seemed to turn out nice and fairly square, mine generally comes out in sort of an oval shape that just fits the confines of my half-sheet pan.
Return the pan to the oven and let the platz kuchen bake. You’ll notice fascinating things start to happen - as it bakes, the dough blisters and bubbles and takes on a rather intriguing appearance. When the edges and bubbles just begin to brown, take the pan from the oven. Immediately brush the entire top surface with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining two tablespoons of sugar. Carefully cut the platz kuchen into 8 pieces and gently remove it from the hot pan.
I tend to believe that platz kuchen is best eaten once it’s cooled completely, which will not take long as thin as these are. They’re crumbly and light and buttery and delicious and kind of make me feel like a kid again (which is probably why I’ve already had three pieces – my adult self wouldn’t have allowed that).