In Culver City there was a bakery that took up three city blocks, and while bussing to school, my dad would recall how the smell of warm bread would waft through the windows and the entire bus would let out a calm, collective sigh. Helm’s bakery is still there, but it houses furniture stores and my favorite bar, Father’s Office. But that smell of something fresh baked still resonates, like a Pepe Le Peu cartoon with the scent coquettishly drifting and tickling your nose. That’s one of the reasons I love baking so much: cooking smells.
Popovers are my favorite smelling, and tasting, quick bread: crunchy on the outside, eggy and soft in the middle. They explode out of their tins with joyful exuberance. And you have to eat them right away. There is no microwaving or “keeping warm in the oven” with these, which seems to add to the gluttony and instant gratification of the meal. You can eat them sweet with some jam or just slather them in butter.
For 6 large or 12 small
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 tablespoon butter, melted
butter for greasing
Preheat oven to 425F. Beat eggs in a bowl, add milk, melted butter, and sift in flour and salt, beating only enough to make a smooth batter.
Place a well greased popover pan in the oven for 2 minutes, until the butter is melted. Remove the pans, and immediately fill them one third full with the batter and bake for 15 minutes.
Turn down oven to 350 and bake for 10-15 minutes until firm, browned and popped.