Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cornmeal Popovers

The popover recipe in the children's cookbook Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen (of Moosewood fame) is the perfect gateway project for budding chefs. Both my children loved pouring over the cartoon instructions, and the first word they learned to read was "EAT", the last step of every recipe. As a parent, my favorite part of the book is the collected words of wisdom at the beginning, "Children's Own Rules", which includes such sage advice as: "It's not okay if you spill on purpose" and "The most important rule of all is don't cook in a volcano."

The great thing about this recipe is that it's so reliable and resilient, producing consistently delicious popovers after all the haphazard sloshing and spilling that is to be expected of young cooks. Thus, it occurred to me that this recipe could handle a little tinkering, so in my last batch, I slipped in some of my Lonesome Whistle Farm corn flour. The result was delicious; the simple milk batter let the fresh corn flavor of the flour shine.

These popovers are wonderful with butter and jam, and they also made a lovely lunch with a salad of blood oranges, hazelnuts and a medley of endives, escarole, and radicchio from Open Oak Farm.  And both will make nice accompaniments to tomorrow's Super Bowl pot of chili.

Cornmeal Popovers
adapted from Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson's Pretend Soup
makes one dozen popovers

2 Tbsp butter
2 eggs 
1 cup milk
2/3 cup white flour
1/3 cup fine cornmeal or corn flour
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Melt the butter and use it to brush the insides of 12 muffin tins.

3. Whisk together the milk and eggs very well. Now whisk in the remaining melted butter and the salt. 

4. Mix together the flours and stir them into the batter until they are just incorporated.

5. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup or small ladle to fill the batter into the muffing cups, filling them about halfway up.

6. Bake for 30 minutes without opening the oven. 

7. Remove the popovers from the pan and EAT!

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