It's been a while.
I wonder if it was rude to tell you that this place is my haven and then disappear for two months. Or is that just part of the deal? I've definitely felt frustrated not having the time to be here, but sometimes it's difficult to know the difference between the things we want to do and the things we think people expect us to do.
You might know that I've spent the past couple of months traveling and moving house, but I think in a sense I was also trying to find my spot. Trying to determine not only what objects to take with me to the new house, but also which habits, goals and activities. I guess it's becoming a theme here, this struggle with wanting to do too much and the perspective offered by travel.
There is definitely something about your routines being unsettled ... it strips away the excess and makes you more attentive to your own needs. It offers a sense of clarity. I felt it as I drove through the snowy hills of Upstate New York and as I walked what seemed like a gazillion miles through Boston. I felt it as I photographed every single corner at Dia:Beacon and when I saw the light play on the walls of our new house for the first time (as well as every time since). And I felt it when I finally made time for a quick kitchen experiment again and it turned into a most delicious breakfast treat. In between all the rush and the stress and the frustrations, those were the things that made me feel at ease.
It's been a hectic couple of months and I'm still very much trying to find my ways, but I do feel like I have a better grasp on what I want to spend my time on, as well as how and why. Maybe this time I will actually find a way to simplify and lighten my load? I certainly know that I'm ready for the dust to settle right now. At least for a little while.
• With their sweet smell of butter and rum, these popovers remind me of my mother's crêpes, but in an airier way. They make a great breakfast treat and pair well with both fresh fruit and homemade fruit compotes. If you happen to have a little melted butter leftover after brushing the popovers, I highly suggest using it to caramelize some apples. A little orange zest in the popover batter also works exceptionally well.
• Of course, you want these popovers to pop. To ensure they rise properly, you want your batter to be at room temperature and your oven door to remain closed during the entire baking process. Preheating your pan should also help, but I've had consistently great results without doing so. Do bear in mind that the popovers will slowly start to deflate once you take them out of the oven, but luckily this will not affect their taste.
maple rum popovers
makes 12 popovers
for the popovers
40 g unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs, room temperature
250 ml whole milk, room temperature
3 tbsp dark rum
2 tbsp maple syrup
125 g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
zest of one orange (optional)
for the cinnamon sugar
100 g sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Using a pastry brush, grease all 12 cavities of a standard muffin tin (or a popover tin) with melted butter. Set aside the rest of the butter for later.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, rum and maple syrup until fully combined and all streaks of egg have disappeared. Through a fine mesh sieve held over the bowl, sift flour, salt and cinnamon into the egg mixture and whisk until no lumps remain. Add orange zest (optional) and whisk to distribute. The batter will be very thin.
3. Pour batter into the muffin tin, filling each cavity about halfway to three quarters. Bake at 220°C until popovers have puffed up and started browning, about 15 minutes. Without opening the oven door, lower the temperature to 175°C and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
4. While the popovers are baking, stir together sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar. Check to see if the melted butter is still liquid. If not, shortly reheat.
5. When the popovers are done baking, remove the muffin tin from the oven and immediately brush each popover with melted butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Serve with warm maple syrup or extra cinnamon sugar and fruit (fresh, roasted, caramelized, compote ...).