Posts Tagged ‘brunch recipes’

Who doesn’t love a popover? Bready and eggy at the same time, they are a delight. I’ve been playing around with a savory Dutch pancake for a while and could not seem to get it quite right. Then it dawned on me … Dutch pancakes are just popovers in bigger form so let’s just do popovers. I even have that damn pan around here somewhere and its clearly not getting enough use. Time to change that. 

Popovers are incredibly easy – a simple flour-egg-milk batter mixed up in a blender, very similar to a crepe batter. The pan is heated, a bit of oil goes in each cup, heated again and then filled with the batter to bake and puff and brown. Delicious. At first, I tried what I was doing with the Dutch pancake, adding ham and grated swiss cheese toward the end of baking. Just Ok. Certainly, these could be better.

I went off on a tangent and started thinking about croque monsieur – that crazy good French sandwich of bread, ham and gruyere blanketed in a rich creamy cheese sauce. It’s even better with a fried egg on top – a croque madame – completely over the top and mind boggling good. What if I put all that inside a popover? I could combine all these ideas and make a full meal in a pretty little package. This had potential.

First, I made the batter and let it rest for 30 minutes. Well first I dug out the popover pan and washed it. It has been a minute since it had seen daylight. Then I made a mornay sauce – a creamy bechamel with cheese – let it cool a little and put in in a piping bag thinking it would be easier to get it inside the baked popovers that way. (I was right.) Then I got my filling ingredients ready – diced some of the leftover Christmas ham I had in the freezer, grated the cheese, cracked some eggs into ramekins (again, for ease later) and preheated my pan.

When the popovers were mostly baked, I cut a hole in the top of each and filled them with a squirt of the sauce, a spoonful of ham, a spoonful of cheese and slipped that egg in. Baked for another 10 minutes. Perfection. 

They were delicious. Split open, a puddle of cheesy hammy egg yolk magic runs everywhere, begging to have the popover dragged through it all. It’s a self-contained bread and dip, all in one. This is a fantastic brunch dish and I’m wondering why I didn’t think of it sooner. If you want to do things ahead, I think you could bake the popovers up to that last 10 minutes a few hours ahead then fill and finish baking just before serving. I haven’t tried it but it sounds logical. The mornay sauce can for sure be made at least a day or two ahead and refrigerated (bring to room temp before using).

Do you need a popover pan? I’m going to say yes. Because the pan cavities are tall and narrow, allowing the batter to puff nice and tall, they have plenty of room for fillings. Could you use a muffin pan? Probably but they’d be smaller with less room for filling and would bake in less time. That said, I think it could work with that in mind.

STRESS THERAPY BAKING FACTOR: OH MY GOODNESS. There’s something special about this one. It’s relatively easy for such a fancy little thing. A beautiful little brunch dish or a nice dinner. Yes it’s rich. Yes indeed and that’s the best part. If you’ve got some leftover ham tucked away, bring it out, grate some cheese and make yourself something special. 

fourteen years ago: Khachapuri (cheesy Georgian bread) 

thirteen years ago: Won Ton SoupBlood Orange Marmalade  

twelve years ago: Dark Chocolate TartChocolate Ganache Tart

eleven years ago: St. John Dark Chocolate Ice CreamChocolate Malt Pots de Crème

ten years ago: Chocolate Snack CakeChocolate Raspberry TartPeppermint Patty Brownies

nine years ago: Dulce de Leche FondueChocolate Linzer CookiesChocolate Crème Filled Cupcakes

eight years ago: Flourless Chocolate Cookies

seven years ago: Orange Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Candied ClementinesMexican Chocolate PoundcakeChocolate Mint Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

six years ago: Dark Chocolate PuddingChocolate Cardamom Shortbread Hearts

five years ago: Ethiopian Doro Wat (Spicy Chicken Stew) 

four years ago: Piggy Coconut Buns for Chinese New Year

three years ago: Dirty Chai Cookies

two years ago: Spicy MaPo Tofu Dumplings

last year: Small Batch Raspberry Rhubarb Jam

CROQUE MADAME POPOVERS – popover recipe adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe

Makes 6

for the popovers: 

1 cup whole milk 

2 large eggs 

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 

½ teaspoon kosher salt 

¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, optional

For the pan: 6 teaspoons vegetable oil 

for the mornay sauce: 

2 ¼ teaspoons unsalted butter

2 ¼ teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup whole milk

2 ounces grated swiss cheese, about ¾ cup

Good pinch each kosher salt and ground black pepper

1/3 cup diced cooked ham, about 2 ½ oz

1/3 cup finely grated swiss cheese, about 1 ¼ oz

6 large eggs

chopped chives for garnish

  1. For the popover batter: In a blender add the milk and eggs then the flour, salt and pepper and blend on a low speed until smooth, about 15-30 seconds. 
  2. Add the melted butter and blend for an additional few seconds. 
  3. Transfer to a two-cup measure or something similar with a spout, stir in the chives if using and let the batter rest for 30 minutes.
  4. For the mornay sauce: in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter then whisk in the flour to form a paste. 
  5. Continue to whisk for another 1 minute to cook out any raw flour flavor. 
  6. Whisk in milk until smooth and cook, whisking frequently, until sauce comes to a simmer and begins to thicken slightly. 
  7. Turn the heat off but leave the pot on the burner and slow whisk in the swiss cheese, a little at a time, until smooth. If needed, turn the burner back to low heat if needed to fully melt the cheese.
  8. Let cool a bit then transfer to a piping bag or a freezer type Ziploc bag and set aside. Can be made at least one day ahead and refrigerated. Let come to room temperature before proceeding.
  9. Crack the eggs into ramekins or small bowls to make it easy to pour them into the popovers. Set aside until needed.
  10. To cook the popovers: While the batter is resting, preheat the oven to 450°F along with the popover pan for at least 10 minutes. 
  11. Just before baking, remove the pan and add 1 teaspoon oil to each popover cup. 
  12. Return the pan to the oven for 2 minutes to heat the oil. 
  13. Remove the hot pan and evenly divide the batter among the six cups.
  14. Immediately return the filled pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 450°F. Do not open the oven. 
  15. After 20 minutes, rotate the pan and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until popovers are lightly golden brown.
  16. Remove the pan from the oven and make a small opening in the top of each popover with a paring knife.
  17. Snip the tip off the piping bag and pipe 1-2 tablespoons of the mornay sauce into each popover, then add about 1 tablespoon each of ham and grated cheese. Pour one egg into each opening and top with a pinch of cheese. You might have to make the openings a bit larger to accommodate the egg.
  18. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes until hot and bubbly and the egg is just cooked but still runny.
  19. Serve hot, split open and garnished with a pinch of chives.

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Hey! So I’ve been cooking up a storm lately, but nothing really blog worthy. More so, just some old favorites, many that I’ve already posted. With Easter coming up, there are some good things in the archives for your holiday brunches and dinners so let’s recap today.


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For reasons that baffle many, myself included, its damn near impossible to get a good bagel outside of New York City. Maybe Montreal; they get a pass. Some say it’s the water, others say it’s the flour but I think it’s the technique. Making good bagels is complicated, involved and time consuming. You have to develop the proper amount of gluten in the dough and do a long, slow cold rise that sometimes lasts 2 days to develop that distinct flavor and texture. Then the coddled rounds of dough need to be poached in a solution of lightly sweetened water spiked with lye to develop that distinctive crust before a relatively short bake at a high temperature. Sure, bagel shops abound nationwide. Not the same. I find them to be universally bready, lacking in that toothsome chew that makes a bagel great. You can buy them in the bakery section of your local grocery store but they more resemble a dense onion roll. And yes, there they are in the freezer section. Walk away. I was raised on Lender’s and they are an abomination. Unless you live in NY with a bagel shop on the corner (and even those are becoming harder to find these days), there’s only one solution to this conundrum. Make your own. It’s not as difficult as you may think.


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