When you are on vacation, everything tastes beter … and when the food is fabulous you are going to remember it forever. This is what happened to us when we visited the Arcadia National Park in Maine. We ate lunch at the park’s restaurant where they served popovers with every meal … the smell and the taste of these lovely rolls and of course the breathtaking view will stay with us forever.
Popovers are the American version of Yorkshire pudding, a British speciality. These souffle-like rolls are airy and custardy. They are made with an egg batter and baked in a muffin pan. The inside is hollow and the outside has a nice crust with a savory flavor. I like to serve it with jam and butter. Enjoy!
Makes 12 popovers.
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of baking soda
1 tablespoon butter, melted
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
In a seperate bowl, wisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter. Add to the flour mixture and mix well until no lumps remain.
Butter a muffin pan.
Evenly distribute the batter among the cups in the pan. Fill each cup until they are about two-third full. Put some water in cups that don’t have any batter.
Bake for 15 minutes at 450F.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the outside is crusty and brown. Do not open the oven door until the last 5 minutes to prevenr the popovers from deflating.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Take popovers out of the pan.
This is a basic recipe that I have been using and enjoying for years. It is moist, a bit crunchy with a little hint of sweetness. Of course, coarsely ground corn flour is a must! The butter gives it a nice flavor and a bit of crunchyness, the buttermilk makes it soft and the eggs pull it all together … oh and I add a little sugar just enough to make it sweet. Feel free to serve it with a hearty soup or just have it as it is with some jam.
Please check out my recipe for my white chilli soup (recipe).
1 cup corn meal, coarse ground
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 stick (110g) of unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix the dry ingredients.
Mix the wet ingredients.
Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Do not overbeat.
Pour into a lightly greased pan. I like to let the mixture sit for a couple of hours so it is easier to digest.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let the bread cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
In honor of Halloween, I would like to post a recipe for a special treat called barmbrack (bairín breac). It is kind of the ancestor of the store bought Halloween candies that kids get at night when they go out trick or treating.
Halloween originated from the beautiful ancient Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-een). It means end of summer and is the celebration of the Celtic new year. Samhain divides the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the new year, the dark and the light. Also, they believed that on this day the division between the old (deceased people) and the new (living people) is the thinnest and we get to the souls of our ancestors the closest. It is a mysterious celebration that other cultures observe as well like in Diwali or Mexican Day of the dead.
People offer food for the spirits that appear on Earth during this time period. Barmbrack is the food that is given on Samhain to make sure that the spirits don’t play tricks on us. So yes barmbrack is the ancestor of the Halloween candies. Everybody in the family gets a slice and then they offer some to the spirits. People also went out to sing songs and tell scary stories on this night and received food in exchange.
This is a simple Irish soda bread with the addition of fruits, nuts, seeds and I also added chocolate chips for the occasion. You can add whatever you wish, whatever grows around you. I used fresh cranberries because they are available here right now but traditionally crab apples were used. Otherwise, I tried to keep the recipe to its original form. The Irish also soak the dried fruits in a strong brew of tea for the night but at least for one hour. I really enjoyed this moist sweet bread, there was a surprise in every bite … sometimes cranberries or raisins or prunes or cherries but the most special treat was the bite with the chocolate chips …
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
5 Tbsp sugar (1 Tbsp if apples are used instead of cranberries)
1 mug of strong English tea (double strength)
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup of dried fruits ( I used currants, cherries, prunes)
1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 nutmeg, 1/4 cloves
1 cup of sliced fresh cranberries or shaved apples
5 Tbsp poppy seed
hand-full of roughly chopped nuts of your choice – traditionally hazelnuts were used.
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups of buttermilk
2 Tbsp of a spirit of your choice (I used whisky) – (optional)
1/4-1/2 cups of chocolate chips
Make a strong English tea. Pour it on the dried fruits and leave it on overnight but for at least 1 hour.
Wash and slice the fresh cranberries. Put the slices in a small bowl and put in the sugar, whisky and the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves). If you use apples instead of cranberries, use 1 Tbsp sugar only! Let it stand until it releases its liquid.
Set oven to 375 F.
Measure out the 4 cups of flour, add the baking soda, salt. Whisk together. Work in the butter with hand, knives or electrical mixer. Mix in the poppy seeds.
Squeeze the liquid out the dried fruits.
Mix in the dried fruits, the cranberries( with the liquid), nuts, chocolate chips. Mix well.
Make a well in the middle, add eggs, buttermilk and mix. Add more flour if needed.
Put dough on lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball shape.
Put it in a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
Check to see if it is done. If the blade of a knife doesn’t come out clean, turn the temperature down to 350 F and bake longer 5-15 more minutes.
When done, let it cool for half hour before serving.