I absolutely know that to be true. And if mastery is akin to the heady rush of first love, then baking popovers the way I do is comparable to the sweetness of a fling on, say, a cruise ship when you are past middle age. I am far from mastering popovers – or in this case, Felicity’s Breakfast Puffs – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little thrill to be had from the flirtation, and some pleasant memories to linger over.
These were scarfed down by my household, so they lacked nothing in toothsomeness. I just can’t seem to bake a batch that comes cleanly out of the pan without leaving behind half of each puff. It’s crucial to eek out as much as possible from each, since they are composed almost entirely of air. But it’s such good air. We use them as a willing vehicle for sweet condiments and they aren’t so much a baked good, as they are a flaky, buttery atmosphere in which to swath jam. You really have to serve them with something else – like an entire meal – or everyone will be hungry, post-puff. They would make a perfect second breakfast – a little something to enjoy after the main event.
I did not know that American Girl dolls and publications would figure so prominently in the past year of my life, but thanks to generous, far-away grandparents and greedy daughters, I have now read several of the books and have a couple of the dolls living with me. The character Felicity, who lives in Williamsburg right before the American Revolution, is a fantastic girl with an interesting, educational story. But more to the point, she has a cookbook. Several of the dolls have cookbooks, as I learned at a delightful American Girl Doll tea party that also featured Felicity’s Queen Cakes, and other treats. This event was put on by the hard-working, party-loving staff of the Winlock Timberland Library. This week, that little library had a Dr. Who/Hunger Games mash-up party! Every year they celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday and we will definitely be visiting them on July 31st in full Rowling regalia. Luckily, I bear an uncanny resemblance to at least four of the Weasleys (I wish one of them were Ginny).
These are a snap to make, and a good thing too, because unless you have better luck than me, you will need your vigor to clean the tin afterwards.
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Apple butter, jam, or honey
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use paper towels to grease the muffin cups with shortening or butter. Put the muffin pan in the oven to heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. While the butter melts, crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl. Use a fork to beat the eggs until they are light yellow. Add the milk and melted butter to the eggs. Beat the liquid mixture with the fork until it is well mixed. Stir the flour and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Slowly stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Stir only until the mixture is blended; do not overmix. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 of the way. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Then take the heat down to 325 and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Use a butter knife to loosen the sides of the puffs and remove them from the cups.
We are headed to St. Louis to visit the far-away grandparents and guess what? There is an American Girl store in one of the malls there. I hope my Mother-in-law is feeling lavish. I was thrilled to find out that there is a doll hospital into which I can admit my youngest daughter’s doll, Josephina, who has been recently separated from her head. Apparently a neglected doll will sometimes spontaneously decapitate in a misguided plea for attention (sort of like how I acted with my high school boyfriend). I found out that at the clinic, they even dress the dolls in wee hospital gowns. But I abruptly ceased squealing over the cuteness of tiny casts and Lilliputian hypodermic needles when I found out that all this costs money. Apparently, it’s my problem that I have an expensive, headless doll. I am going to have to visit the mini-health care exchange in the AG store and hope they can give me a decent premium. Fining me for not having her insured is not outside the realm of possibility because no profit opportunity gets past the marketing geniuses at AG.
On the upside, the AG store has a tea room. Please tell me they serve puffs.