30 June 2009

sugared puffs

I came across a blog with a post about "Sugared Puffs", which came from a recipe by David Lebovitz, and decided it was something I needed to make. What lured me in was that these were unlike "doughnut muffins", being practically a popover with the addition of a spicy sweet coating of cinnamon sugar that lends an extra crunch.

What is a popover? Well, it's a thin, eggy batter with a small amount of flour-to-liquid ratio. Since there's no added leavening agent, what makes these "pop over" the tin is by liquid evaporation in the hot oven, thus it's steam-leavened. Like souffles, these will begin to deflate after you take them out of the oven. You traditionally bake these in a popover tin, the individual cups being more narrow and deeper than that of a muffin tin, but I made these in a muffin tin.
I would describe the taste of a popover as custard-like, which makes sense as eggs are one of the main ingredients, and since these are, of course, made with milk that's pretty much close to a custard. Biting through the crispy skin to the silky, moist innards is really a delight.

After baking and cooling a bit (outside of the tin), I brushed the tops with melted butter and coated the tops with cinnamon sugar, which really happened to be an apple pie spice mixed with sugar. I like my cinnamon sugar to be on the spicy side, so I always add more cinnamon (or apple/pumpkin pie spice) than the ratio states. (Nobody will mock me for playing by the rules.)

Please gaze upon the delicious innards

These were definitely good as soon as coated with the sugar, but it also tasted just as good the next day, albeit slightly less crunchy. My brother said these reminded him of elephant ears.

Sugared puffs would make a perfect lazy weekend breakfast along with a bowl of fruit and a steaming cup of coffee, or a nice teatime snackable. If you have any leftover, eat the next day for elevenses.

(Recipe after the jump)

Sugared Puffs
Recipe by David Lebovitz, appeared in The New York Times

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 (I'm pretty sure I added a tablespoon, maybe a little more)
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.


28 June 2009

Fox & Obel

A while ago, Steve from Victorian Pantry told me about a little market-cafe-restaurant place in Chicago called Fox & Obel that I should go to the next time I was here. Well, the 5k about a week ago was the perfect opportunity to stop by.

Right here ---> please imagine a picture of the outside of Fox & Obel with the sign taken on the corner of the street. Because I spaced and forgot to take it.

Immediately upon entering the market area I'm reminded of the scene in You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan's character is shopping in what I figure is their neighborhood's version of this store, swerving around food signs and displays to keep from being seen by Tom Hank's character. There's pretty much a wide variety of different things, like the shelf dedicated to mineral waters I've never even seen before.

Once in the cafe section I order a single espresso and a dried cranberry-white chocolate-macadamia cookie.
The espresso was incredibly smooth, and still strong, but not bitter at all. Pretty much one of the best espresso I've had in my span. Back in the day I tried a SBUX espresso and I had to swallow it like when parents gave their kids castor oil. In retrospect, I really didn't need to do that to myself.
Way back in my day, my mom would occasionally buy me a white chocolate-macadamia cookie from a Mrs. Fields stand in the mall. Those cookies remain one of my favorite to this day, although I never really eat them anymore, nor have I once made any. Pretty much the memory associated with it is what makes it more special than other cookies I've eaten, but it's why I always order anything with white chocolate and macadamia nuts if I see it in the display. (Oh, the cookie was good, though chewy not by the ingredients but by intentional underbaking.)

This is their raw (I think) gazpacho, which tasted like a light salsa, but more soupy. Pretty good. I didn't taste any of the bread until the next day, and even then it was decent.

I'm going to leave you to look at the remaining pictures I took until you lose your focus or quit out of boredom. I didn't get to take as many pictures I'd have liked to, or put very much thought in the angling of said pics I didn't snap, because I forgot to charge the camera and the battery was running low, so I hope you enjoy those I did take.

Still inside the cafe

Spices -- I love the containers they use

The most incredible collection of olive oils and vinegars


KONA! I noticed it didn't specify the grade

If I could have just one last wish, it'd be for a piece of tasty fish

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