Popover Perfection

Popover Perfection

These billowing, golden beauties are as delicious as they are photogenic. They remind me of a hybrid between a sugar doughnut and a cream puff: crisp on the outside, airy on the inside. What’s even more amazing is that these popovers are incredibly easy to make. The batter whizzes together in a blender, just like when making crêpes. Even better, this dessert comes with a show! Turn the light on in your oven, and watch these babies rise, rise, rise. Now that I finally have a fool-proof popover recipe (my last one was far too dense and is begging to be reworked), expect many more variations to come. But let’s ease in with the good stuff- vanilla bean, cinnamon, and sugar. Guaranteed to cause finger licking.

Popover Perfection

To make them, pre-heat your oven to 400° F. To a blender, add 3 large eggs, 1 cup of whole milk, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 1 pinch of salt, 1.5 teaspoons of sugar, and the beans from one vanilla pod. Blend them together.

Popover Perfection

With the blender running, add in 140 grams (1 cup) of flour. Continue blending until the batter is well-combined.

Popover Perfection

Grease a popover pan, and fill each cup 2/3 of the way full. You should have exactly enough batter to fill all 6 cups. If you don’t have a popover pan, you could use a muffin tin, but your popovers will be smaller, and you’ll have more of them.

Popover Perfection

Bake the popovers for approximately 30 minutes (less if you’re using a muffin tin). Don’t open the oven door while the popovers rise, much like when making a soufflé. It’s really fun to watch them grow and brown.

Popover Perfection

While the popovers bake, melt 1/4 cup of butter (4 tablespoons) in a pan. In a side bowl, stir or shake together 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Popover Perfection

Once the popovers are golden brown, remove them from the oven, and set them aside to cool. It was so difficult choosing which pictures to include with this post because there were so many delicious looking ones. I love how the popovers seem like they’re ready to burst open.

Popover Perfection

Once the popovers are cool enough to handle, remove one from the pan. Lightly brush the whole thing with the melted butter, and then turn it in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat it well. Transfer the popover to a cooling rack, and repeat the sugaring process with the other ones. If you thought the popovers looked incredible right out of the oven, look at them now! Diamond encrusted…but edible!

Popover Perfection

The popovers are best served warm, but they’re not bad eaten the next day either. The outsides are perfectly crisp. Tear into them, and you’ll find airy, vanilla bean-flecked insides. These popovers BEG to be ripped open and gobbled up. Have at ‘em! Now, I’m off to buy more eggs!

This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz.

Shopping list:

  • Eggs- 3
  • Whole milk- 1 cup
  • Butter- 6 tablespoons
  • Sugar- 1/3 cup + 1.5 teaspoons
  • Vanilla pod- 1 (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
  • Salt- pinch
  • Flour- 1 cup
  • Cinnamon- 1/2 teaspoon
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I Bet-zle You’ll Like My Spaetzle

I Bet-zle You'll Like My Spaetzle

I have wanted to make spaetzle for quite some time, and I am glad that I finally did. It was fun! Spaetzle is a German/Austrian egg noodle/dumpling that is twisty and rustic. Once made, there are a lot of ways to eat spaetzle. My favorite is crisped up in a pan, but you can also toss it with butter or oil, or bake it into a cheesy, macaroni-like tangle. It took some experimenting in the kitchen to figure out the best way to form the spaetzle before dropping them into boiling water to cook. Although dedicated spaetzle makers are available, I had fantastic luck re-purposing a kitchen accessory that I already owned. I’m sure you can find something that will work for you too!

I Bet-zle You'll Like My Spaetzle

To make the spaetzle batter, whisk together 7 large eggs with 1/4 cup of milk and 1.25 teaspoons of fine sea salt. Then, stir in 2 cups of flour until most of the lumps are eliminated. The quantities specified in this recipe make a lot of spaetzle. I’d estimate around 12 side servings or 6 main course servings, maybe even more. You could halve the recipe and make less or freeze any extra for a later use. How do you halve a recipe that calls for 7 eggs, you ask? I would whisk the odd egg on its own very well and then pour half of it off.

I Bet-zle You'll Like My Spaetzle

Once the batter is combined, cover it with plastic wrap, and transfer it to the refrigerator to rest for 1 hour. The resting time allows the batter to develop gluten, which contributes to the batter’s smooth, stretchy consistency. While the batter chills, bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Also, fill a large bowl with ice water.

To form the spaetzle, you’ll need to use a silicone spatula to press the batter through an item with holes and allow the batter to drop into the pot of simmering water. I first tried using a metal steamer/straining basket, which I set on top of the pot. It didn’t work because the strainer prevented the hot steam from leaving the pot, and the built-up heat cooked the batter before I could press it through the holes. My next attempt was much more successful- I used the plastic strainer top that came with my fat separator. It’s nice because it has a tongue-type handle that allowed me to hold it over the pot easily.

I Bet-zle You'll Like My Spaetzle

Once you find something that works for you, dollop some of the batter onto it, and use a spatula to press the batter through the holes. The batter will form raindrops that land in the water, sink, and then float to the top. The spaetzle expand and turn opaque as they cook, which takes about 1 minute. When the batch is done, use a skimmer to remove it from the pot, and transfer the spaetzle into the bowl of ice water. Repeat until you’ve cooked all of the batter.

I Bet-zle You'll Like My Spaetzle

Drain the cooked spaetzle from the ice water. You can store it in containers in the refrigerator for up to a week. 12 servings of spaetzle is a whole lot, so I came up with several different ways to serve it.

I Bet-zle You'll Like My Spaetzle

  1. Pan fried: Add 1 sliced shallot and some swiss chard leaves to a large, lightly oiled pan. Pour in about 1/4 cup of white wine, and let it cook off. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, melt in 2 tablespoons of butter, and add in 1-2 cups of the spaetzle. Fry it until it browns and turns crisp. The spaetzle picks up the best color and flavor in a stainless skillet, but it tends to stick. A fish spatula is really helpful to scrape and turn it. Alternatively, the spaetzle glides easily in a non-stick skillet, but the flavor isn’t as deep. Zest 1/2 lemon over the spaetzle. Grated gruyere cheese is also nice. To make it more of a meal, you can also add some diced, pre-cooked chicken when you add the spaetzle.
  2. Baked with cheese: You can make mac and cheese with spaetzle instead of pasta. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in pot, stir in 3 tablespoons of flour, and then pour in 1 cup of milk. Season the milk with salt and cayenne pepper. Stir the milk until it thickens, remove the pot from heat, and melt in 1 cup of grated cheese (gruyere and cheddar are nice). Stir in about 2 cups of spaetzle and optional meal-enhancers: chicken, bacon, swiss chard, mushrooms, parmesan cheese, etc. Transfer the spaetzle and cheese to a greased baking dish, top it with more grated cheese, and bake it at 400º F until the top is golden brown.

How do you like to serve spaetzle? I need more techniques so I can finish eating my way through this big batch!

This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Shopping list:

  • Eggs- 7
  • Milk- 1/4 cup
  • Sea salt, fine- 1.25 teaspoons
  • Flour- 2 cups
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Pomegranate Gin & Tonics + Herb & Lou’s Mixology

Pomegranate Gin and Tonic

Somewhere along the line, I fell in love with gin. It was probably around the time that I popped over to Green Hat Gin for a distillery tour, bought a bottle with my friends, and made some tiny, fantastic cocktails. I’ve made the bee’s knees countless times since then, but not frequently enough. For starters, my kitchen storage is less than ideal, and I can’t reach my cocktail shaker without a ladder (really). It also takes some effort to gather ingredients and heat the honey syrup. Then, in the gift bag for DC’s best event of the year, I got a tiny bottle of pomegranate gin and tonic mixer from Poste. Delicious and instantly gratifying. Now that my tiny bottle has been consumed, my pomegranate gin and tonics require a bit more effort, and I’ve realized the value of high-quality, sophisticated mixers. Lucky for me, my buddy Reid Rosenthal just launched a line of mixers that fit the bill. More about that later.

Pomegranate Gin and Tonic

But first, the pomegranate gin and tonics. To make the base, a spiced pomegranate syrup, simmer 8 ounces of pomegranate juice with 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns and 1 cinnamon stick until the juice stops bubbling and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain out the peppercorns and cinnamon, and then let the syrup cool. For 2 gin and tonics, fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in 3 ounces of gin and 1.5 ounces of the spiced pomegranate syrup. Put a lid on the shaker, and shake it well. Strain the mixture into two small glasses (champagne flutes work nicely), and then top the glasses off with sparkling water (granted, not truly a tonic). Garnish each cocktail with a few pomegranate seeds (they’ll take a few minutes to float to the top), and enjoy! The cocktails are slightly tangy and have a deep flavor from the spices. Also, some other uses for any leftover pomegranate syrup are red pepper dip and lemonade. So versatile!

 

If you’re not up for all this effort to get your cocktail on, check out Reid’s video for his new line of mixers, Herb & Lou’s. Watch out for a Parker sighting in the video too! Reid has been working hard to develop fantastic flavor combinations for his mixers that are each suited to a type of alcohol. My favorite is the Cecile (cucumber, watermelon, clover, honey, and thyme for tequila). I feel so sad for people who have had bad experiences with tequila.

Pomegranate Gin and Tonic

Reid’s dog, Cooper, is the namesake for…the Cooper (blood orange and ginger for bourbon)! Cooper is Stella’s buddy and joined us for our beach day! And as for gin, Reid pairs pink grapefruit, chili, and basil. Swoon. If I’m speaking your language, check out Herb and Lou’s Kickstarter to kickstart their bottling and get our bars stocked. What are your favorite cocktail combos?

Shopping list:

  • Pomegranate syrup (pomegranate juice, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick)- 1.5 ounces
  • Gin- 3 ounces
  • Sparkling water
  • Pomegranate seeds
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