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Weekend Escape: NH and Popovers

12.June 2012
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Over the weekend Dan and I took off with our friends Liz and Mike to spend a few days in New Hampshire. As it always has been, it was a delightful getaway, with mountain views, cool breezes, delicious treats, and relaxation. While the others hiked, Dan and I opted for laziness. I finished reading A.S. Byatt’s new book – Ragnarok – and read Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, which has been in my list for long time. Both were immensely satisfying, though very very different.

Which reminds me – what are you all reading these days? Share your tips in the comments! I’m very happy to have some free time for fun reading for once. Are you at all interested in talking about books in this space? I am.

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The Barn is one of my favorite cooking spaces. Something about that kitchen or maybe the air or the fact I’m generally relaxed there always makes me feel especially inspired and makes whatever I cook taste pretty spectacular.

This time, we arrived with only a few groceries, among them a bag of golden cherries all the way from the Pacific Northwest (living in springtime New England you get frustrated by all the bloggers posting about the abundance of fresh produce appearing all around them and you just buy anything exciting in the supermarket, regardless of its provenance, local sustainable good intentions be damned).

I wanted to make something delicious with them for dessert on Saturday and thought something pastry-like was necessary to go along with them. When I go away somewhere planning to cookout without a plan, I tuck Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio into my bag just in case.

I thought something like a popover might be nice to try. Having never made a popover before, I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we weren’t disappointed. And rather than simply slice th e cherries, I thought I would be a little more festive and set them on fire with a little rum. The result: sweet popovers with cherries jubilee. I recommend you try this immediately.

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Sweet Popovers with Golden Cherries Jubilee

for the popovers (makes six dramatically puffed ramekin-sized popovers)

  • 2 c milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t cardamom (optional, but I always like to throw some warm spice into a dish like this)
  • 2 t sugar
  • ca. 1/2 stick butter
  1. Put your muffin pan/popover pan/ramekins/whatever vessel you like to bake these in into the oven and preheat oven to 450.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Whisk together milk and eggs until well combined.
  4. Stir in dry ingredients until well combined. Tiny lumps are okay, but you want the batter to be smoother and thinner than pancake batter.
  5. Cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  6. When ready to bake, remove pan/ramekins/whatever from the oven and drop 1-2 t of butter into each cup. Then fill each cup 3/4 full of batter.
  7. Place filled pans/cups back into oven and bake for 10 minutes at 450, then lower heat to 375 and bake until very brown and cooked through (about 30 more minutes, less if the popovers are baked in a muffin tin or smaller vessels).

for the cherries jubilee

  • about 4 c cherries, halved and pitted
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • rum
  • butter
  • a lighter or match
**To say I cooked these by a recipe would be disingenuous. This is the basic process, though. Adjust to your taste.
  1. Macerate cherries in about 1 T brown sugar and 1 T rum for an hour or so. Longer is fine.
  2. Heat a pan and melt the butter.
  3. Add the cherries (and their lovely macerating juice) to the pan and cook until they begin to be softer and release some juice.
  4. Add about 1/2 t cinnamon and 1 T brown sugar and stir to combine. Cook until a light syrup forms and boils.
  5. Add 2-3 glugs (let’s say 1 glug = 2 T) of rum (we used Captain Morgan spiced rum) and stir to combine.
  6. Light it on fire with your lighter or match. BE CAREFUL. Don’t burn yourself or spill the burning goodness out of the pan. Watch out if you’ve got a microwave mounted above the stove. Swirl the pan around until the flames die down.
  7. Cook until the syrup is slightly thickened and everything smells caramelly and delicious.
  8. Serve over/in popovers straight from the oven. These would also be excellent with ice cream.

**Also, what do we think of Instagram photos? It’s very convenient, but the quality, I realize, is not the same as a proper photo. In this case, my camera battery died just as the popovers were finishing. And so I held up my iPad like a tool and snapped a few photos. This probably won’t become a habit, but may happen from time to time.

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