Folks, this has been a marathon spring for me but I am recharged and ready to get back in the kitchen! For this last guest post of the season, I have a real treat for you. One of my cooking idols, Marlene Sorosky Gray has graciously shared not one, not two, but three of her favorite recipes with us. I have hungrily followed Marlene’s career (pun intended) since I was beginning to realize that I wanted to be a food professional and started transitioning out of high tech. I am so incredibly honored to introduce you to Marlene, one of our country’s culinary gems.
Thank you so much Marlene – you are the perfect person to finish this series of guest posts and I saved the best for last!
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Marlene Sorosky Gray
I am always amazed at those things in life that seem so simple yet tend to take on a life of their own. I’m thinking about an article on popovers I wrote in June, 2013, for the San Francisco Chronicle. Ordinarily when I finish writing an article, I am so sick of the subject that I don’t make the recipes in it for years. But I continue to receive so much mail about that popover article that I am continually reminded of it.
Last week I received an email from an 84-year-old woman who has been making popovers for most of her life. She had never seen a recipe that heated the milk before adding it to the batter or baking the popovers at 375°F for the entire time. (Many people believe that you need to start baking popovers at a high temperature and then turn the oven down.) She wanted to let me know that the eighty popovers she made for her church group supper were a huge hit.
In researching that article, I discovered that the culinary world is full of popover mavens. I can’t remember ever writing about a food subject that has more conflicting “wives’ tales” associated with it than popovers. Here are a few:
- Popovers must be started in a hot oven vs. They must be started in a cold oven.
- The empty pan must be heated before filling vs. The filled pan must be started in a cold oven.
- The cups should not be filled more than half full vs. The cups should be filled almost to the top.
- You must not open the oven door or it will cause them to collapse vs. Opening the oven door during baking will not cause them to collapse.
The good news is that whichever directions you follow, you will be rewarded with regal popovers. Every maven’s popover recipe will gloriously rise, but some of them will be loftier than others. When writing that article, I tested over 25 batches of popovers. I am convinced that I have come up with the ultimate, never-fail, over-the-top popovers.
Here is a basic recipe, as well as a variation that didn’t make it into the paper, Lemon Almond Popovers with Lemon Honey Butter. For more popover recipes, including a gluten-free one, check-out the online article on SF Gate. You can find all of my recipes by searching SF Gate for Marlene Sorosky Gray.
- 1-1/2 cups whole, low-fat or nonfat milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-12 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, optional
- Pan spray
- Heat the milk in a saucepan until bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Or, heat in a microwave until hot, but not boiling.
- Mix the eggs in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, by hand with a whisk, in a blender or a food processor, until frothy. While mixing, gradually pour in the hot milk. Add the flour, salt and sugar; mix on low until thoroughly incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. Mix in the melted butter, if using. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
- Position a rack in the middle or lower third of the oven. Preheat a conventional oven to 375° or convection oven to 350°F. Place the popover pan, standard muffin tin or custard cups in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and spray the sides and top edges of cups with pan spray.
- Whisk the batter well and divide among the cups, filling almost to the top. Bake until puffed and deeply browned, 35 to 40 minutes for small popovers, 45 to 50 minutes for large ones. The longer they bake, the less they will deflate. If they are browning unevenly the last 10 minutes, rotate the pan.
- Remove the popovers from the pan and serve immediately. Or, for crisper popovers, remove them to a rimmed baking sheet where they can be held uncovered for up to 4 hours. Before serving, preheat the oven to 450°F and reheat for 3-5 minutes or until hot and crispy.
- Yield: This recipe makes 6 large popovers in a standard popover pan or 10 smaller ones in a mini popover pan, standard muffin tin, or 1/2-cup custard cups.
- 2 cups whole, low-fat or nonfat milk
- 4 large eggs
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, optional
- Lemon Honey Butter, for serving (see below)
- Heat milk in a saucepan until bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Or, heat in microwave until hot, but not boiling. Mix eggs in a mixing bowl with electric mixer or by hand with a whisk. While mixing, gradually pour in hot milk and extract. Add flour, almond meal and salt and mix on low until incorporated. Scrape sides as needed. Mix in melted butter, if using. Cover and refrigerate for from 1 to 24 hours.
- Position a rack in the middle or lower third of oven. Preheat conventional oven to 375°F or convection oven to 350°F. Place popover pans, muffin tins or custard cups that hold 1/2-cup batter in oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and spray sides and top edges of popover pan with nonstick vegetable coating.
- Whisk batter well and divide among cups, filling 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until puffed and deeply browned. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Or, for crisper popovers, arrange puffs on a baking sheet where they can be held uncovered for up to 4 hours.
- Before serving, preheat oven to 450°F. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until hot. Serve with butter.
- Yield: Makes 8 large or 16 small popovers
- 1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- In a small bowl with electric mixer, beat butter and salt until creamy. Add honey, lemon rind and juice and mix until blended. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Spread may be refrigerated for several days.) Serve at room temperature.
- Yield: 3/4 cup
To learn more about Marlene, follow her food adventures and discover her delicious recipes, you can often find her articles on the San Francisco Chronicle’s website and through her many cookbooks. Here is a sampling:
- Fast and Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays: Complete Menus, Rituals, and Party-Planning Ideas for Every Holiday
- Marlene Sorosky’s Cooking for Holidays and Celebrations (A Completely Revised and Updated Edition of The Year ‘Round Holiday Cookbook
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