The New York Chronicles Part 1: there are welcomes and welcomes

There’s been some kind of mis­take.… I’m sup­posed to live in New York. I’m quite sure about that. But in the absence of sol­id evid­ence that it’s going to hap­pen any time soon, I paid my fantasy home city a brief vis­it to check that the two of us are still suited. Of course it was as won­der­ful as ever — once I’d got over the stone-cold greet­ing at JFK, surely the most churl­ishly unwel­com­ing air­port in the world.

When it comes to being wel­com­ing, the res­taur­ant BLT (Bis­tro Laurent Tour­ondel) on East 57th Street has it taped. The wait­ress didn’t just bring deli­cious rolls the size of house­hold buck­ets to the table the moment we sat down, she brought the recipe for them too. I’m ser­i­ous. One of the dough moun­tains had a mini­ature recipe book dangling from its sum­mit. The mini book has now crossed the Atlantic with me and is enjoy­ing a cul­tur­al exchange with my cook­ery book col­lec­tion in Oxford.

Shouldn’t more res­taur­ants be doing this? Less of the ‘it’s a highly com­plex secret recipe that you couldn’t pos­sibly recre­ate at home’ and more of the ‘yes, you can make it too and pos­sibly just as well as we can.’

To be strictly accur­ate, BLT pop­overs are a cross between cheesy York­shire pud­dings and a hat you could wear to Ladies Day at Roy­al Ascot. And since BLT were so gen­er­ous with the recipe, I’m sure they’d be happy for you to try it too.

BLT Pop­overs — makes 12

4 cups milk

8 eggs

4 cups flour

1.5 heaped tbsp salt

2.25 cups grated gruy­ere cheese

Pop­over pan

Place the pop­over pan in the oven. Heat the oven and pan to 350 degrees F. Gently warm the milk over low heat and set aside. Whisk the eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in the milk (so as not to cook the eggs). Set the mix­ture aside. Sift the flour with the salt. Slowly add this dry mix­ture and gently com­bine until mostly smooth. Once com­bined, remove the pop­over pan from the oven and spray with non-stick veget­able spray. While the bat­ter is still slightly warm or room tem­per­at­ure (def­in­itely not cool) fill each pop­over cup three quar­ters full. Top each pop­over with approx­im­ately 2.5 tbsp of the grated gruy­ere.

Bake at 350 degrees (175 degrees c) for 50 minutes, rotat­ing pan half a turn after 15 minutes of bak­ing. Remove from the oven, remove from the pan and serve imme­di­ately.

I made my ver­sion in a pan half as deep as BLT’s, but I don’t like chomp­ing through a pop­over the depth of a good sized flower pot. I greased the pan with but­ter instead of veget­able spray and since I used half as much bat­ter, I cut the cook­ing time from 50 minutes to 40.

Ten out of ten to BLT. One and a half to JFK … and in the airport’s case I’m being gen­er­ous.

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4 thoughts on “The New York Chronicles Part 1: there are welcomes and welcomes

  1. i have tried pop­overs before in New York and i loved them. this recipe has opened up a path for me. thank you. i know what i will be mak­ing for lunch today!

  2. Hoo­ray Sta­cey and Tash — I’m so glad to be inter­rupt­ing your work today, but only in a good way! xx

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