Monday, August 20, 2012

TWD -- Bland, bland, bland

Popovers, America's version of Yorkshire Pudding, are vastly overrated in my opinion. Perhaps we are now so used to big, mouth-watering muffins served up at every Starbucks and local cafe, or maybe our tastebuds are so sophisticated after two decades or more of the "food movement" where dishes are served with a plethora of herbs and spices that we no longer care much for bland.

Whatever the reason, I found popovers to have little to recommend them. Maybe I needed the roast beef and juices to get the authentic experience. But when you live in a hot, dry climate as the Midwest has been this summer, fixing a joint to go with the latest Baking with Julia adventure wasn't on my radar screen.

Since my husband and I are empty nesters and I didn't think I could even palm popovers over onto grandkids no matter how much jelly I slathered on them, I elected to halve the recipe and make a half dozen of them.

Popovers best attributes are that they are easy to make, don't call for expensive ingredients and their preparation doesn't dirty too many dishes. I elected to use my stick blender and it's accompanying tall cup to make them. It worked perfectly. Since I didn't have custard cups, I used a muffin pan, leaving empty every other cup allowing the dough plenty of room to expand.

After mixing up the flour, egg, salt, milk and butter, I popped them into the oven and awaited the results. The popovers rose beautifully, browned perhaps too quickly at 425 (I had to turn the oven down a bit), then dried out at the 350 temperature for 15 minutes.

The results? They looked like popovers although a bit too brown, but they tasted -- well, bland. The taste was similar to a cream puff, but without the cream. No fun in that! Would I make them again? Probably not, but the experience was worth the effort. Come winter when the winds are howling and a roast beef with its accompanying juices sounds inviting and I ask myself, "Should I make popovers to go with that?" I can safely answer myself with an unqualified "no."