Celebrate the royal wedding in true British style
Do you plan to set your alarm clock to get up before the sun and watch the royal wedding next Friday? Although I’m not typically an early riser, this is something I don’t want to miss. Perhaps it’s the fairy tale princess element of commoner Catherine Middleton marrying Prince William, or maybe it’s nostalgia for the groom’s late mother and her moment in the wedding spotlight. And, it would appear I’m not the only one who’ll be watching the “telly” that morning.
To help consumers celebrate the nuptials, manufacturers around the world are churning out everything from jigsaw puzzles to Pez dispensers to commemorative tea blends. While I’m not likely to purchase a refrigerator featuring the smiling couple in a tender embrace, I may sample the limited-edition heart-shaped royal wedding iced jelly donut from Dunkin Donuts. Hotels in major cities have announced extravagant overnight packages, neighborhoods across the United Kingdom are organizing street parties and groups of girlfriends are planning pajama-tiara sleepovers or big-hats-required wedding brunches. The merchants in Lewes have assembled an entire day of wedding-themed events.
Menu planning for your royal wedding celebration couldn’t be easier – serve a traditional English breakfast. This combination of hearty dishes will certainly help you wake up: eggs, bacon, broiled tomatoes, black pudding, sautéed mushrooms, baked beans, buttered toast with jam and lots of tea. If you’d prefer not to start the day like a ploughman ready to till the field, you could offer a more delicate selection of British treats from among those in the photo (sourced from the bountiful shelves at Lewes Gourmet on Front Street).
Crumpets topped with lemon curd would go nicely with mimosa cocktails, and oaty Hobnob biscuits spread with butter are delicious dipped in tea (or coffee). My first choice would be some variation of popovers. This light, eggy batter becomes Yorkshire pudding when made with pan drippings from a roast, a luncheon roll when dusted with cheese, a dish called toad-in-the-hole when poured over sausages, and a crunchy, tender combination of buttery loft when baked in a popover pan.
Unlike ordinary muffin tins where the cups are connected, a popover pan holds six separate cups in a frame. The size and configuration provide room for the batter to rise and encourage a crusty outside to form around the puffy interior. The only problem with a popover pan is that you can only make six at a time – an issue you’ll understand the first time you bite into one of these fresh from the oven.
Whisking together the batter takes just a few moments and the total baking time is 35 minutes. They start out cooking at a relatively high heat so they rise quickly from the force of the steam within. Resist the temptation to open the oven at any time to check on their progress, as you’ll lose the benefit of the steam. The final few minutes in the oven are when the crunchy golden crust forms. When they’re done, they’ll look like miniature chef’s hats, but will begin to collapse as soon as they come out of the oven (see photo).
Popovers can be the heart of breakfast either as a rich replacement for toast or as a cradle to hold scrambled eggs, creamed chipped beef or anything with hollandaise sauce. Eggs Benedict made with a popover instead of an English muffin is a memorable dish – no matter what you choose to serve for breakfast, whether watching the wedding or not. And, if you’re looking for a suggestion, popovers are the ideal way to celebrate the wedding while wearing a tiara and pajamas.
1 T butter
1 1/4 C milk
1 C flour
1/2 t salt
Preheat oven to 450 F. Coat the inside of popover pan cups with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Whisk in milk and eggs, stirring until frothy. Combine flour with salt and sift into the egg mixture. Stir just until combined; small lumps will remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F and bake another 20 minutes. Do not open the oven until ready to remove the popovers. Serve immediately, as they will start to collapse.
1 T Parmesan cheese
1 T butter
1 1/4 C milk
1 C flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 F. Coat the inside of popover pan cups with nonstick cooking spray and dust each with 1/2 t Parmesan cheese; shake out any excess cheese and set aside. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Whisk in milk and eggs, stirring until frothy. Combine flour with salt and Parmesan cheese; stir into the egg mixture just until combined; small lumps will remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F and bake another 20 minutes. Do not open the oven until ready to remove the popovers. Serve immediately, as they will start to collapse.
1 1/2 C milk
1 1/2 C flour
3 T rendered fat from a beef roast
Preheat oven to 450 F. Whisk together the eggs, milk and salt. Sift in the flour 1/2 C at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition. Set aside to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. When the roast is done, take the drippings from the pan and add 1 T to the batter. Pour the other 2 T of drippings into an 8-inch square pan. Place pan in the oven until very hot, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 F and cook until golden brown, an additional 10 minutes. Note: instead of a square pan, these can be baked in a standard muffin tin.
Toad in the Hole
Tradition says the name comes from the sausages looking like toads peeking out of their holes.
3 T melted butter
1 C milk
1 C flour
1/2 t salt
1 T vegetable oil
1 lb link sausages
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth, then whisk in butter and milk. Add flour and salt to egg mixture, stirring until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Cover the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and add the oil. Place the pan in the oven to heat while cooking the sausages in a skillet to brown on all sides. Remove the pan from the oven and add the sausages in a single layer. Whisk the chilled batter and pour over the sausages. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake until the pudding is puffy and the edges are browned, about another 10 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.