‘Images and recipes from Spice Health Heroes by Natasha MacAller (Murdoch Books). Photography by Manja Wachsmuth. RRP $49.99’
Cornish Saffron Popovers
with Sweet Saffron Butter
‘Inspired by the classic British Yorkshire pudding, ‘popovers’ are baked in a similar fashion and are often made with cheese. Using traditional Cornish saffron bread ingredients, here is a recipe for quick-as-you-can popovers that are great for afternoon tea or an after-dinner bit of something sweet and surprising using this most alluring and expensive spice.’ p.222
MAKES 24 MINI OR 10–12 STANDARD-SIZED POPOVERS
For the sweet saffron butter:
1/8 tsp saffron threads, lightly toasted
3 tbsp granulated sugar
100g (3óoz./scant ó cup) softened butter
½ tsp lime zest
½ tsp ground cardamom seeds
large pinch salt
2 tbsp currants plumped with 1 tbsp water or brandy
1/8 tsp saffron strands, lightly toasted
2 tbsp orange juice
zest of ½ orange
125g (4½ oz./1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tsp sea salt
240ml (1 cup) full-fat (whole), milk warmed to 38°C (100°F)
4 large whole eggs, beaten
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
To make the sweet saffron butter, rub the toasted saffron threads into the sugar until combined. Put into a small bowl with all the remaining ingredients and whisk by hand or with a mixer until smooth and creamy. Cover and chill until needed.
To make the popovers, crumble the toasted saffron and dissolve in the orange juice. Set aside.
Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add the warm milk a little at a time. Whisk until smooth, then add 80ml (1/3 cup) of cold water and the saffron orange juice, whisking until bubbly. Incorporate the beaten eggs, transfer to a jug, cover and chill for 30 minutes or up to a day.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F/gas mark 9). Brush mini- or standard-sized muffin cups with oil and put them on a baking tray. Place in the oven on the lower shelf until smoking hot.
Rewhisk the chilled batter, then carefully remove the trays from the oven, pour the batter into the hot tins to about three quarters full and return them to the oven. Do not the oven door while they are cooking or they will not rise.
Bake mini popovers for 8–10 minutes, standard-sized ones for about 20 miniutes, then reduce the temperature to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6) and bake for a further 8–10 minutes until brown, crisp and risen.
Serve the popovers warm with the sweet saffron butter.