Shades of White
Sometimes, you just need to change your perspective to see more in everyday things, familiar items used so often their sheer utility masks an intricate beauty in their simplicity, taken for granted.
Monochromatic and elegant. Our staples for baking; eggs, milk, flour, and salt each have something quite beautiful in its most primitive composition. See the translucent sparkle of the salt crystals, or the shape and sheen of an unbroken egg whose image is reflected back on a glossy surface. Feel and smell unbleached flour as you measure, weigh and sift. Wafts of wheat dust mingling in the air, transformed into silken powder that turns to batter when the heated, creamy milk is slowly poured into the bowl. Do we have muffins, pancakes or other delights? Just depends on the additional ingredients that will make it sweet or savory, light or heavy, flat or voluminous. When you stop and think about it, these are wondrous ingredients capable of so much.
This image is the result of my shifted perspective as part of a styling and photography exercise that required an all white theme. The ingredients are for a recipe found on the Williams Sonoma website featuring BLT Steak Gruyère Popovers, from the famous restaurant in New York City. I have never made popovers before, nor have a popover tin but simple matters like that don’t usually dissuade me. Since I was cooking for just the two of us I halved the recipe. Lessons learned, it really does take 45 minutes for these to cook thoroughly and create that wonderful outer shell and puff to its highest heights. Also when halving the ingredients (especially after work when your brain is dead tired) jot down your conversions and take a look again to make sure their right. My brain knew that one tablespoon equals three teaspoons, but in my rush and diminished state added the three teaspoons and NOT the one and a half that I should have. Obviously, the results were shall we say, a bit salty?
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces grated Gruyère cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°, place muffin tin (or popover tin) on lower middle rack to heat up. BLT suggests also putting a sheet pan on lower rack to catch any drips while cooking.
- Sift flour and salt onto wax paper.
- Scald milk in a small saucepan.
- Whisk eggs in a medium sized bowl until frothy, temper with a bit of hot milk and whisk together.
- Slowly add sifted flour and salt into wet ingredients until forming a smooth batter.
- Spray cups with non-stick vegetable spray or melted butter
- Fill each cup in tin 3/4ths full and top with 1/2 ounce of cheese. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn to encourage an even rise.
- Continue baking for 30 minutes –do not open– oven door during this stage to ensure even cooking.
- Serve right away.
I can’t wait to go shopping for a popover tin and give this one another try! The nutty cheesy smell and taste with the hints of eggy batter is really quite perfect with a nice steak and glass of red wine.
Thank you to Simon at Junglefrog Cooking for dreaming up this month’s Styling and Photography Challenge: ALL WHITE THEME