We spend every summer on Mount Desert Island in Maine. This sounds unbelievably posh, even to me. And, in fact, it is. We have this boon because of the Mount Desert Summer Chorale, a really delightful group of volunteer singers I've conducted since 2000.
Thanks to them, we are on the outskirts of Acadia National Park from late June to early August. Mount Desert Island is seriously one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Allow me to convince you by regaling you with a just a couple of photos I've taken over the years.
|This is a famous spot just down the hill from where we stayed last summer. (DS photo)|
|The view from atop Cadillac Mountain. (DS photo)|
|The Bubbles and Jordan Pond. (DS photo)|
|Popover at Jordan Pond House. (web photo)|
|My popovers (DS photo)|
3 large eggs
1-1/4 cup milk (any kind works--except half-and-half!)
1-1/4 cup of flour, sifted before measuring (this turns out to be the key: use too much flour and disaster will strike)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Whip the eggs until they're frothy, then add the milk. I now do this in a blender, but a whisk works just fine too. If the mixture is cold, warm it for 30 - 45 seconds in the microwave, just to take the chill off of it. Now add the flour and salt to the liquid and stir well until the batter is completely smooth. It will be the thickness of heavy cream or egg nog.
Heat the oven to 450* F. (I do suggest doing this after you mix up the batter, just so that the batter can stand a bit.) When the oven is hot, pour the batter into a well-greased popover pan, to just below the top of the pan. (Non-stick is definitely best here.) Place the pan in the oven on the lower middle rack--no need to set the pan on a cookie sheet, though some instructions tell you to do that. (I find it browns the popovers too much on the bottom.) Bake for 15 minutes. Then, without opening the oven door, lower the heat to 350* F and bake for 30 minutes more. Don't open the oven until the whole baking time is up. Remove the popovers from the pan and serve hot.
|Popovers just out of the oven. (DS photo)|
Here's how they'll look. I made this batch a few days ago--the last morning the girls were here. Popovers, you see, have become a bit of a ritual in our house since I mastered the technique.
A few notes: the one problem I occasionally have is with the popovers sticking. A good non-stick pan prevents this. I spray mine with cooking spray. If you don't have a non-stick pan, be sure to grease the cups very thoroughly with something like Crisco. Don't use butter or even cooking spray if you worry that they'll stick to the pan. (Remember, these are basically eggs, and you know how eggs stick to everything. There's no additional fat in the batter to help with this.) I especially like the popover pan from Chicago Metallic, a company that makes really good bakeware. (See the photo below, though you can also sort of see it in the picture I took of my last batch.)
Popovers made in this pan will have all the grandeur of those at Jordan Pond House, but it's not the only option. Just to see what would happen, I made a batch the other morning in a pair of plain old muffin tins. Here's the result:
|Popovers in muffin tins, just out of the oven. (DS photo)|
|The little popovers on a plate. (DS photo)|
|Here's how the little popovers look inside. (DS photo)|
The biggest problem with popovers, I've found, is using too much flour. Under no circumstances should you skip the sifting. (Confession: I usually do skip it; it seems so unnecessary in most cases. But don't skip it here.) By sifting the flour and then measuring it, you'll get the right amount. Knowing that some people like to weigh it instead, I weighed mine the other day; it was 6.5 ounces of flour. Doing it by weight would probably be just fine.
Serve them with lots of butter and jam. Jordan Pond House offers strawberry jam, but I think of blueberries when I think of Maine, so I like blueberry jam on mine. I also like marmalade. I hope you'll try making them, because they're fun and delicious. Let me know how yours turn out.
I'm sure part of the reason I'm so keen on popovers has as much to do with where I've eaten them (in Maine) and who I've had them with (my hilarious sisters-in-law, Martha and Edie, and Sue and the girls, not to mention some really terrific friends). Food is like that: it can take you back. So whip up a batch of something--popovers if you want--and make some memories.