I spent a summer some years ago on Mount Desert Island in Maine, working at a funky natural foods restaurant in Bar Harbor. What a kick I got out of hiking the trails, cycling, moped-ing, and exploring the many coves and villages. My mother, Marguerite, lived in Blue Hill, which is just a little piece down the coast. Close enough to allow for regular get-togethers. We had some good times. One in particular that we liked to repeat was the Jordan Pond House experience. This teahouse originated in the late 1800’s and has a charming perch amidst forest and mountains, overlooking the pond. Wooden tables and chairs are scattered on the lawn and a waiter brings coffee in a ceramic pot and freshly baked popovers with butter and homemade strawberry jam. All this under a massive blue sky and breezy cumulous clouds. (Yes Virginia, there really is a god.) If my mother was not part of this memory, it would still hold up, but she so enriched it with her presence, it is only apt to bring it out for this Mother’s Day.
If you were thinking of making pancakes for your mother this weekend, you might want to go the extra mile and make something really special, like these popovers. They are a lot like Yorkshire Pudding. Puffy and eggy. Often served with jam, they can be tweeked in a savory direction instead, incorporating herbs and parmesan. In that case, they would go nicely later in the day with soup. They’re fairly simple to make, with a few caveats….I do use a special pan which is like a muffin tin with very deep cups. Try using a large muffin tin if that’s all you have. Fill only half-way. And you don’t want them to be done too soon. Allow enough time to bring the oven to 450 degrees and add roughly 35 minutes for baking. The diner must be at the table when they come out of the oven. They are in their prime for only a short period of time and then it’s a rapid decline. A word about the jam…..I hardly ever eat jam. It’s usually too sweet. But there is one brand that I am glad to have discovered, and that is Les Comtes de Provence, from France. The organic strawberry is incroyable.
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Sift together the flour and the salt.
In a separate bowl beat together the eggs and the milk.
Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, and beat until smooth.
Butter the popover or large muffin tin and place in hot oven for a few minutes. Remove and brush the melted butter up the sides. Stir the batter once more in case it settled and pour halfway into the six ‘cups’.
Bake the popovers in the middle of the 450°F. oven for 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 375°F., and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes. Do not open oven (this is very important) until the last 5 minutes to check on them. Remove to plates and slit open to let steam escape. Makes six.