Mother’s Day Eve, circa 1973. The kitchen is filling with smoke. My mother is upstairs pretending not to notice and my father is, well, probably off writing somewhere, really not noticing. My older brothers, older sister and I have commandeered the kitchen in order to make a Mother’s Day treat for the next morning. No matter that my mom doesn’t really care to celebrate Mother’s Day (preferring instead to celebrate the Anglican Mothering Sunday), no matter that none of us has baked entirely unsupervised before, or ever baked popovers, no matter that popovers should be eaten immediately out of the oven rather than baked in advance — this year, in my memory, my oldest brother and sister have decided that Mom will have popovers for breakfast.
A pretty new basket has been purchased, and a napkin laid inside it. The first batch goes up in smoke, so we forge ahead and bake a second, exhausting the supply of eggs and milk. I don’t remember if they are any good, if we serve them to my Mom while they are still hot and delicious, or if we really save them for the next morning. What I do remember is that my siblings and I all spent an evening in the kitchen together, and the result of that time is far less important than the happy little kid memory.
This year, my husband and I are taking a rare night away from the kids together (rare = the first in four years) and it happens to fall the weekend of Mother’s Day. I have no big objection to the holiday, myself; it’s commercialized now, yes, but it’s roots are in anti-war protest and I make a point of that when I talk about the day to my kids. Tony makes sure I get to sleep in, and generally organizes the boys to create some kind of extra breakfast treat to go with my standard bowl of granola; this year, perhaps it will be these sugar and cinnamon popovers which are such a good idea, I wish we’d thought to make these for Mom all those years ago. Because they’re still pretty tasty the next day.
Recipe by David Lebovitz
For the puffs:
Softened unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup flour
For the sugar coating:
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, melted.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Liberally grease a nonstick popover pan, or a muffin pan with 1/2-cup indentations, with softened butter.
2. For the puffs, put the 2 tablespoons melted butter, eggs, milk, salt and sugar in a blender and whiz for a few seconds.
3. Add the flour and whiz for 5 to 8 seconds, just until smooth.
4. Divide the batter among 9 greased molds, filling each 1/2 to 2/3 full.
5. Bake for 35 minutes, until the puffs are deep brown.
6. Remove from the oven, wait a few minutes until cool enough to handle, then remove the puffs from the pans. You may need a small knife to help pry them out.
7. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Thoroughly brush each puff all over with melted butter, then dredge in sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat completely. Let cool on a baking rack. Makes 9 puffs.