Bullock’s tea room in Sherman Oaks, California was my Grandmother and my Mecca when I was little. She would take me shopping for the day, and we would take a mid-day break for lunch in their glorious tea room. As we were escorted to our table, I was in awe of the vast ceilings, plushly decorated room in velvety mauves and deep purples and the crisp white table cloths. The minute I sat down, a more than gracious waiter would present us with the largest popover I had ever seen. This was served instead of a bread basket. Can you imagine?
My grandmother always attracted more than a little attention. She was striking and had the beauty of Old Hollywood starlets. She was tall and always carried herself like a model, even though she had suffered from Polio and walked with a brace. Her gracious manner, sparkling eyes and welcoming smile made anyone who met her instantly adore her. And adore her I did as I believe she did me.
My father is an only child and I was her only granddaughter. That was a big deal. My mother and I were the sole recipients of all her feminine interests, shopping being the number one. The days we spent shopping were the best ever. Not because of the stuff we bought, but because we talked endlessly, laughed vigorously AND got to eat popovers with lunch with a big slab of butter dripping generously over the top.
Bullocks was more than famous for these popovers and their recipe has been requested and printed in the L.A. Times dozens of times. My grandmother kept the original recipe clipping from the newspaper and glued it to a recipe card. I still have her recipe box full of her own favorites and use it while nostalgic memories wash over me.
Most of the recipe cards are written in her handwriting. I don’t know why it strikes such a sentimental chord, but it makes me so happy to see her handwriting and the print of the old recipe cards which always adorned her kitchen Sunday evenings when we came for dinner. My husband has even framed my favorite recipe of hers, Noodle Kugel along side a beautiful photo of her. It hangs in my kitchen and, as you know, I spend a quite a bit of time there.
I made these popovers, also known as Yorkshire pudding, to serve with our Prime Rib on Christmas. We gobbled them up. And though I made a large batch of them for our small crowd of eight, there were simply not enough left to serve with our leftovers the next day so I whipped up ANOTHER batch. The recipe is ridiculously EASY and can be made in a muffin pan though I was lucky enough to borrow my mother’s new popover pan.
Do you think I could ask Santa for a belated Christmas gift? Those pans were really nice…
Taken from the L.A. Times
Makes about eight popovers
2 c. whole milk
2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 t. salt
6 T. unsalted butter, softened
2 T. meltedunsalted butter for greasing ramekins or muffin pan
To Make the Popovers: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt two tablespoons of butter and baste a muffin tin with it or eight ramekins. Grease well! Beat your eggs and milk together in a small bowl. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together your flour and salt.
Work butter into flour until adequately combined. Gradually add milk and egg mixture to flour mixture and blend with a wire whisk in between each addition. By adding the egg mixture in small amounts at a time and whisking in between, you will eliminate most lumps.
Scoop the batter into each muffin cup or ramekin, about 3/4 full. The more full, the higher and more puffy your popover will be. I believe mine were a little scant since I wanted to get at least 10 popovers out of my batch for dinner. If you are using ramekins, you will want to place them on a cookie sheet and then put the cookie sheet in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes for an eggy version or about 50+ minutes for a crispier version, until golden.
Open your oven and gently poke each popover with the tines of a fork. Turn the oven off, leaving the popovers inside for 5 more minutes. Take out of the oven and gently release each popover using a butter knife to separate any stuck bits until they pop out.
Serve warm with butter or gravy poured over the top.
December 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm
ok, i’m confused, i have seen popovers that are tall and puffy and popovers that are short and concave, which ones are the ‘right’ ones? or are there different kinds? lol
December 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm
They can fall after you take them out, much like a souffle. There’s nothing wrong with that…it tastes delicious! Generally, they should be puffy, whether it’s tall or not. Tallness has to do more with the pan itself. If you have a popover pan, they will come out tall and if you are just using a ramekin or muffin pan, they will realistically be a little shorter. But all of these are yummy.
December 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm
I should’ve future-read this so I’d be better prepared for Christmas Day’s roast beef dinner, but fear not, it’ll just get used with the next round. 😀
I *love* the reminiscences about your grandmother. What a marvelous and magical relationship in so many ways! No doubt part of how you turned out so fabulous yourself, and indeed, worthy of Santa’s kind attentions!
December 29, 2011 at 4:42 am
I love the sweet memories behind these popovers…and the popovers themselves of course! I’m sure your grandmother would be proud that she inspired such deliciousness!
December 29, 2011 at 7:47 am
What great-looking popovers! Loved reading about your Grandmother; she sounds like such a special lady — and you didn’t have to share her! And congrats on your new stand mixer. I hope you both share many happy years together.
December 29, 2011 at 9:53 am
Hi, Geni! This was such a nice post, I can just see your grandma. I’m obsessed with the LAT food section, obsessed. These look just wonderful and yay for new KitchenAids!
December 29, 2011 at 9:54 am
Also, I love the word Bullocks. What, no one else is gonna say it?
December 29, 2011 at 10:31 am
A tea room – how elegant! I would love to go to a formal tea, especially if I could eat these popovers. They look fantastic! Such sweet memories of your grandmother, and those handwritten recipes are the best.
December 29, 2011 at 11:33 am
I also received a Kitchen Aid from Santa! Yay!
December 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm
What wonderful memories of your grandmother, sounds like such special times were shared with her. And not only did she cherish you, but someone else does too gifting you that gorgeous mixer!! I’m excited to try this recipe, they turned out beautiful for you. Warm wishes for a Happy New Year Geni!
December 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm
A good amount of melting butter on top would be great on those, just look at the first image
December 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm
These sound amazing, and I love the story about your grandmother. Sounds like a pretty special woman. 🙂
December 29, 2011 at 8:19 pm
What a wonderful memory of time spent with your grandmother and she sounds like such a fine and interesting lady. I’ve never made popovers, but yours do sound easy. Neiman Marcus’ restaurant still serves them here with strawberry butter and an espresso cup of chicken broth on the side…such an old fashioned and wonderful thing .
December 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm
P.S. I am nominating you for the Versatile Blogger award because I enjoy your blog so much and look forward to your posts. I hope you don’t have it already, and congratulations on your great blog.
December 29, 2011 at 8:57 pm
Santa brought me the same exact thing this year! And I know I wasn’t all that good…LOL. 🙂 Isn’t it fun?! And I love this story Geni. You, above any other blog I read, have the ability to bring a tear to my eye.
December 30, 2011 at 12:19 am
Your grandmother sounds like such an amazing woman.. and there’s nothing like a family recipe :). These popovers look absolutely decadent and delish!
December 30, 2011 at 3:01 pm
These popovers look great!
December 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm
Your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman! Congratulations on your Christmas present! We have the EXACT same one…..except I’ve named mine Brutus. Did you name yours?
January 1, 2012 at 12:36 am
I enjoyed the story behind the pop overs and the pics were really great also.
I just have one question what is your favorite white flour for making these?
I have a favorite flour for making different breads so which one do you use?
January 1, 2012 at 7:45 am
I use all purpose. Thanks for asking…I will add the type of flour to the recipe. I always like to make my recipes as easy to follow as possible.
January 1, 2012 at 9:18 am
I haven’t made popovers since I was in high school. This is a good reason for me to start again! Loved the story too.
April 11, 2014 at 11:20 am
Oh I soooo feel the same. So loved that place. My Mom would take my sisters and I. Your article made me teary eyed. Such great memories. ❤
December 24, 2020 at 10:40 am
I also have wonderful memories of Bullock’s. I grew up in rural Santa Ana back in the 60s and Bullock’s Santa Ana are where my memories lay. I used to love to go and have popovers with chicken salad with my mother who was a professional shopper, LOL and that was always my sister and my treat after putting up for hours of shopping with her. When I got married in 1985 I started going with my mother-in-law to Bullock’s Pasadena and I carried on the tradition of my popover chicken salad lunch. A couple of my girlfriends still have lunch together and we reminisce about Bullock’s and how much we miss it and how much it meant to us to go to the tea room and have that wonderful experience with somebody that we loved. Thanks for the trip down memory lane I saved this in my favorites, however I also have the clipped recipe from the times. It’s so cool to look at it it’s all yellow in dog years but I treasure it.🎄❤