Tuesday, October 9, 2007
I've tried various cookware -- muffin tins, ceramic ramekins, special iron popover pans --and both hot and cold oven starts. Based on suggestions in the Neiman-Marcus cookbook, I've warmed the milk and also let the batter rest. Sometimes this seemed to help and then another batch would disappoint.
Finally, after a morning of trying different recipes one after the other and actually making some, uh, margin notes after each batch, I think I've cracked the code.
The baking temperatures and times I'm now using come from a sweet little tome I recently unearthed from my attic stash: "Blueberry Hill Cookbook" by Elsie Masterton.
Written in the 1950s and 60s, Masterton's books are a delightful read. The first, "Nothing Whatever to Do," chronicles her becoming a cook "through sheer necessity." The Vermont inn she and her husband bought and planned to operate as a ski lodge was in an area not blessed with sufficient snow. In desperation they turned it into a summer getaway, promising, in a small Saturday Review ad, "Lucullan food."
My attic carton yielded both "Blueberry Hill Cookbook" and "Blueberry Hill Menu Cookbook" but not "Nothing Whatever to Do," so I'm off to the on-line used book stores.
And from now on, this is my popover procedure:
Truly Impressive Popovers
(adapted from "Blueberry Hill Cookbook" by Elsie Masterton)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/4 cups milk
Pre-heat oven to 425-degrees.
Whisk the eggs; add flour, salt, melted butter and milk and whisk well. Let batter rest for 30 minutes or so.
Generously grease a muffin tin. (Don't cheat on this.) Place the tin in the hot oven until it is quite hot, and then quickly fill each section about half full. (The batter probably won't fill all twelve spaces).
Bake for 15 minutes, without opening the oven door. Reduce heat to 350-degrees and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes, depending on how moist you like your popover interiors.
Remove popovers from the tin immediately. Left to cool in the pan they tend to stick.
Makes 10-11 popovers.