A tardy popover post

During the few months in-between finishing undergraduate and beginning graduate school, I lived a double life.  By day I worked at a Jewish pre-school in Century City (my Bruin Woods experience gave me entree into a world where I had neither the educational or religious background).  By evening I was a cocktail waitress at Lawry’s the Prime Rib in Beverly Hills.  For someone like me, a budding sociologist and generally nosy person, Lawry’s was a ridiculously fascinating place to work.  In fact, this post is an entire week late because I had trouble narrowing down my stories.  In a nutshell, Lawry’s is a huge, always busy restaurant that could easily provide the entire plotline for one of those ensemble multi-plotted movies like Love Actually or New Years Eve.

Lawry’s  also serves giant hunks of meat.  Giant.  Like another Los Angeles institution, In-and-Out, the nearly singular mainstay of Lawry’s menu is a variety of cuts of…you guessed it…prime rib.  Like a good traditional English Sunday Supper, the prime rib is served with something called a spinning bowl salad, an array of deliciously cream-laden vegetables and, yorkshire pudding.  Here is where today’s post comes in.

Somewhere along the way, my mother began serving prime rib for Christmas Dinner.  Along side it, she also serves popovers–essentially, individual yorkshire puddings.  If you’ve never had yorkshire pudding or popovers, they are hollow, steam filled almost pancake-like treats.  They look fancy.  But, if you have the equipment and a little self-restraint (do not, under any circumstance, open the oven door while they are baking), are actually very east to make.

These photos are, in fact, from last Christmas and, the chef at work is, my mom.  But, with Easter just a few days away and the popularity of Easter roast, these would make a lovely pairing.

Returning to Lawry’s I can’t resist sharing one story.  Probably the first among many in future posts.  The vast majority of patrons to the bar at Lawry’s are there to have a pre-dinner beverage. Even so, Lawry’s, and thus, the bar, had its share of regulars.  Every Sunday just as dinner service began, a couple came in for drinks before going down to supper.  He would order two double vodka and tonics in rapid succession.  He would then order a third.  Each week it was the same routine.  His wife/girlfriend/caretaker would excuse herself from the table, secretly pull me aside and ask that the third double be a single.

The obvious play to get a buzz before dinner wasn’t what made this couple remarkable.  Nor was the secretive partner behavior.  I was, after all, a waitress in a bar.   That the man was in a wheelchair also lacked notability.  I’ll give you a hint.  His wheelchair was gold.

As clueless as I was and still am, this didn’t even make much of a difference to me until a certain movie came out that caused quite the stir.  And even THEN, it wasn’t until I read an article in Vanity Fair about the movie (of course, I didn’t see the movie) I realized that for the better part of six months I’d been serving none other than Larry Flint.

I’ll tell you, if I had known who he was from the get-go, I would never have lightened up his drinks.


We were all holiday music all the time at that point.  I only know one Easter-related holiday song…here comes Peter Cotton Tail hoppin’ down the bunny trail…hippity…hoppity…


I’ve used this recipe for years.  It’s on a hand-written card from my mom and the credit is to Sunset Magazine.


  • (makes 6)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 TBS melted butter


  1. Combine eggs, flour, milk and salt, pepper and melted butter.  Whisk until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate batter for at least 2 hours.
  3. Preheat over to 425 degrees.
  4. Generously coat popover cups with butter.
  5. Place pan in oven for 3-5 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and turn down heat to 374 degrees.
  6. Remove batter from fridge, whisk and quickly add batter to hot pan.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes.  (the following is a direct quote from my mother’s notes: DO NOT open the oven while baking.  Bad things will happen [sad face]).
  8. Remove from oven and release the popovers.
  9. Can be  made a day in advance, cooled and stored in an airtight bag.  Reheat at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.


About a year or so I go I began to notice a new dessert item on restaurant menus: butterscotch pudding.  This surprised me because I’ve always associated butterscotch with, well, the sunset dining crew.  The appearance of this humble item was intriguing , but not enough so to get me to order it.

Then I began to wonder–what exactly is butterscotch? Thus far, I’d only experienced it as the ocher colored hard candies “those” people gave out at Halloween.   Turns out, butterscotch is a couple of things.  In liquid form, it’s really just a type of caramel.  In a pudding, it’s synonymous with the flavor of brown sugar.

About a month ago TD asked if I would make butterscotch pudding  (probably subliminally cued by restaurant dessert menus).

So, I did.  And you know what?  It was pretty okay.  We added fresh berries this time around.   However, some chopped pecans and a rum sauce would also be delightful.

…now…if you don’t mind, I’m off to get it on the early bird special at Cocos.


A little old school funk.

Butterscotch Pudding

borrowed from Joy of Baking who adapted from


3 C (720 ml) whole (full fat) milk 

3/4 C (160 grams) dark brown sugar

1/4 C (30 grams) cornstarch

1/2 tsp salt

4 large egg yolks

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 TBS (28 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


  1. In a large stainless steel (heatproof) bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks.
  2. Whisk in 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the milk until you have a thick paste. Set aside while you heat the milk. Have ready a fine medium-sized strainer and bowl as you will need to strain the pudding after it is cooked.
  3. Rinse a medium-sized heavy saucepan with cold water and then shake out the excess water. Doing this step prevents the milk from scorching.
  4. Pour the remaining milk into the saucepan and bring just to a boil. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Transfer the pudding mixture to a clean large, heavy bottomed saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise (about 2 minutes).
  6. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Pour through the strainer to remove any lumps that may have formed during cooking.
  7. Pour into four bowls or wine glasses. The pudding can be served warm or if chilling, press plastic wrap onto the surface of the warm puddings to prevent a skin from forming. If you like the skin, simply leave the pudding uncovered until cooled, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The puddings can be made a day or two ahead of serving. Garnish each pudding with a large dollop of softly whipped cream.


How to get a leprechaun to give you directions to his pot of gold

It’s March my friends.  And that means St. Patrick’s Day.  And that means beer.  And Irish names.

A couple of years ago I shared my favorite chocolate cake recipe.   If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll recall that its secret ingredient is a can of stout beer.  I’m ashamed to admit it has taken me this long to extrapolate the wonders of dark beer and chocolate to brownies.  That’s right, beer.  And brownies.

The good news is that the lightbulb finally went on, and I have a recipe for you.  Like its cousin, the chocolate stout cake, this brownie recipe also begins with a can of beer.  But here, the stout is reduced to about 1/2 cup.  Wait, allow me to explain myself.  I don’t mean that there is less beer.  I mean that it literally gets reduced down via a strong simmer until all that is left is a deep, dark stouty concentrate.  Pwah…less beer.  As if.

Also playing a starring role in this recipe is over a pound of bittersweet chocolate.  Combined with butter and melted until smooth and velvety.

You won’t taste the beer in the brownie.  But, like vanilla or coffee, dark beer boogies with the chocolate to create a deeper, more sophisticated flavor.

I happen to have it on good authority that leprechauns love beer brownies.  So.  Bake up a batch, find a leprechaun and trade for that pot of gold.  Or, keep the brownies for yourself.  The situation is win-win.


Still stuck on that 80s channel on Pandora.

Stout Brownies


  • 1 can stout (like Guinness or Murphy’s)
  • 18 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • .5 lb (16 TBS) unsalted butter
  • 1.25 C granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 TBS cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2.25 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C roasted walnuts


  1. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, bring beer to a simmer.  Simmer gently until beer reduces to about 1/2 C.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9X13 pan with parchment and butter or oil pan and top of parchment.
  3. Using a heavy-bottom saucepan,  melt butter over low heat.  Remove from heat, add chocolate and allow to sit for 3-4 minutes.  Whisk to incorporate chocolate until mixture is completely smooth.  Allow to cool to room tempurature.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, salt and cocoa.
  5. Whisk-in eggs one-at-a-time.  Whisk-in vanilla and beer reduction.
  6. Whisk-in chocolate and butter mixture.
  7. Fold-in flour mixture and then nuts until just incorporated.
  8. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a wooden skewer comes up with moist crumbs when inserted.
  9. Allow to cool completely before cutting.