Monday, October 5, 2009

Popover a New Page



Oh, it has been a while since I have been here...the blog is a little dusty! I am finally in a little chunk of time fit for writing and a few lovely friends requested the recipe for my popovers, so here we go.

First a little update on my cooking school adventure!So Arleen, the owner and executive chef, finally got her own place and it will be up and running as of next week. The schedule looks so great - I can't wait to actually start teaching and taking classes myself (hello cinnamon rolls!). She allowed us to observe her teaching at the adult school in Rancho Bernardo, and a couple of other instructors and I took her up on it. It was a chocolate for beginner class that included a tutorial on all things chocolate, a tasting that covered about 12 different chocolates from white to milk to all the percentages up to 100% chocolate, and finally the practical where the students learned and made truffles and chocolate covered strawberries.

All I can say is, this woman is a pro - she is the wo-man, and believe me, I a picky, picky person when it comes to teachers. I feel like I have found my sensei a la Karate Kid or something. She will be teaching the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child early next year - now that will be a cool challenge. I love having someone great to learn from.

So anyway, let's get to those popovers. I have been reading the Ratio book by Michael Ruhlman as I discussed in an earlier post, and came accross his discussion on popovers. Here is what got me:

"They're just too cool. THis slack batter of flour, egg, and milk goes into a little cup into a very hot oven and a half hour later, poof!, a transformation as dramatic as popcorn."

It sounded fun and easy enough, so I went ahead with it. Unfortunaly (or maybe not?) all I had were my giant muffin tins, so what I came up with in the end were super large popovers. I so wish I had a popover pan, but regular muffin tins work just fine. So here is the payoff...watch them grow in the oven - it really is amazing. When you finally get into one, make sure it is still warm and get ready to have one of those involuntary eye closing moments. Yeah. They are that good. The outside is all crisp, but the inside is the yin to the outside yang - all creamy and custar-esque.

Some suggetions from the author paraphrased: put the pan in the oven for 5 minutes before you put the batter in, and don't add anything to the base recipe for flavor. Instead, wait until they are almost done to sprinkle cheese on to melt for the last minute or so; serve with hot diced apple sauted in butter and brown sugar, or just top with sweet butter and honey The recipe for Basic (but Amazing) Popovers from the Ratio book follows. It makes 4-8 popovers:

16 oz milk
4 large eggs
8 oz flour (two scant cups)
About 2 tsp salt to taste
1 stick of butter melted or 4 oz canola oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine milk and eggs and whist until they're uniformly compbinged. Add the flour and salt and stir until combined. Allow the batter to sit for a half an hour or longer for the flour to bloom or hydrate.

Put the pan in to preheat 5-10 minutes while the oven heats

Remove the pan from the oven; put a couple of teaspoons of butter in each cup of the popover pan (or muffin pan). Fill each cup with batter an bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F., and continue to bake until done, 20-30 minutes longer.

Serve straight from the oven with preserves, jams or simply some good honey and butter.