My husband and I 'popped' into the mall the other day and happened to walk by a kitchen store. While I normally just walk on by (yeah right), this store was clearing out their entire inventory and will reopen as a different kitchen store in April. Don't you just love a good deal? I certainly do and when I saw popover pans on sale for 50% off the already marked down price, well you know I had to buy one. I try not to buy too many specialty pans like the Madeline cookie and donut pans I have sitting on the shelf. Had I known what I know now, I may have paid full price for this popover pan.
Popovers are magical and made with normal pantry ingredients. Based on my research they are highly adaptable and sometimes include herbs, cheese, or sugar and cinnamon. Did you know you can add Prime Rib drippings and make Yorkshire puddings? Some say popovers are just an American version of Yorkshire pudding. Whatever, I love these things!
This recipe includes a healthy portion of Gruyére Cheese which is a slightly salty, almost sweet, yellow cheese. The flavor of Gruyére varies greatly depending on the age. I used an older, aged cheese that has a more assertive, intense and complex flavor. For this recipe I would buy the good stuff. You know everything gets better with age, like me!
Heating the pan in a very hot oven is key to making popovers 'pop' out of the pan.
Mine turned out like telescopes, rising up out of the pan, then taking a left.
Look at the yummy cheese - these things are wonderfully addictive, easy, delicious, fun and interesting. I'm not sure if this is typical but when I pulled them out of the pan I thought they would go all the way to the bottom. But several only had a little nub underneath. How funny. I could actually see them rise in the oven. I was mesmerized and watched them for a long time. I should have just pulled up a chair. I wonder what makes them 'pop' and crawl out of the pan like that?
Served warm from the oven, you can slather them with butter or other spreads, but I don't think they need anything. The cheese flavor is perfect with the egg-y bread.
A light hollow middle means these were a success! Since they are light and not very dense, I guess I could eat two, or three - you know while they are warm - yum~!
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs, room temperature
3 ounces aged Gruyére cheese, grated
Place a 6-cup popover can in the bottom third of an oven. Place a baking sheet on the rack underneath to catch any drips. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Sift together the flour and salt through a fine mesh sieve. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy, about 2 minutes.
Pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat on medium-high until the milk just starts to bubble. Remove from the heat and slowly drizzle the milk into the beaten eggs, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Keep slowly adding the milk until it is all incorporated into the eggs. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture just until blended.
Remove the popover pan from the oven (it should have preheated at least 15 minutes) and spray the cups with a nonstick vegetable spray. Divide the batter between the 6 cups filling them about three-fourths full. Sprinkle each cup of batter with 1/6th of the grated cheese.
Immediately return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Quickly open the oven and rotate the pan 180 degrees, then reduce the oven to 350 degrees. Continue baking the popovers until puffed and browned, about 35 minutes. Do not open the oven again after rotating the pan.
Remove the popovers from the pan and serve immediately.
(Recipe may be easily doubled. If baking in the same pan be sure to wipe out any excess fat from the cups before adding new batter. Also preheat the pan in the same manner mentioned above.)
(Recipe adapted from BLT Steak via Williams-Sonoma)
I've had some questions about my 'set-up' when shooting food so I thought I'd share. I have a regular procedure that includes tucking a $5 shower curtain liner (available at Wal-Mart or Target) in the blinds of my living room window. We have bright afternoon sun that must be defused and this super cheap item is perfect.
On the right you see two inexpensive pieces of hard cardboard that are taped together to form a book. These white boards are used to reflect (bounce) more light from the opposite side.
On the floor is my Collapsible Reflector. I have a set of two with four different choices of finish. One side is gold, one is silver, one white and one is a combination. These are not expense but are worth the small investment. They collapse into a small 10 inch package perfect for taking with you where ever you shoot. They are great for portraits too. Since most of my shots are back-lit, I use the reflector to bring the light on the front of the subject.
And last but not least, I shoot most of my food on this $5 garage sale table. It's light weight and is often moved all over the house to chase the light. During the day I throw a tablecloth and lamp on top and add a few framed photos. It is so easy to set up and break down so that works for me. A step stool, table cloths, napkins, colored poster board, a piece of Plexiglas and various dishes round out my blogging closet.
Now that you know about the shower curtain, you can see the window in the background. I own soft box lights but still prefer to shoot with only natural light. I also try very hard not to mix light sources. It is very hard to get the proper white balance on the photos.
I use Adobe Lightroom for all my post production work. I always sharpen my photos and often adjust the exposure and shadows. I've learned the hard way about people stealing photos using them on their own blogs. I put my watermark on all photos now.
I learn more every time I pick up the camera and hope to get more opportunities to shoot landscapes and wildlife. I recently sold some photos that were contracted for bake and shoot jobs. I love that!
How to you set up your photo shoots? Do you use any special equipment? Are you a Canon or Nikon person?
On another matter, we're supposed to get 6-10 inches of snow today. Heavy sigh. Oh well. Maybe I'll bake again! Thanks so much for stopping by!