Dororty Mackaill lays down the law on how to make popovers.
Dorothy Mackaill began her career as a chorus girl and met Marion Davies when they were both in the Ziegfeld Follies. She started working in film in the early 1920s and went on to star in several pre-code films in the early 1930s including "Kept Husbands", "Once A Sinner", "Party Husband" and "Safe in Hell". Dorothy remained close friends with Marion and was a frequent guest at Hearst Castle.
This recipe is from the 1927 edition of "Photoplay's Cook Book: 100 Favorite Recipes of the Stars."
1 scant cup flour (Apparently this means a BIT less than 1 full cup)
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
Sift together flour and salt and mix with milk. Add the two eggs, well beaten and the melted butter. Then beat with egg beater for five minutes. Pour into hot, greased popover pans--the heavy iron sort. Bake for twenty or twenty-five minutes in a very hot oven. Do not open door for the first fifteen minutes of baking. After that reduce the heat in the oven.
Perfectly delicious for breakfast and easy to make, if you follow directions. The trick is to get the batter light, thin and full of little bubbles. When Miss Mackaill tells you to beat them for five minutes, she means five minutes and no cheating.
**I set my oven temperature to 450 degrees and baked for 15 minutes before turning it down to 350 degrees for another 10 minutes. Unfortunately I opened the oven door to take a peek, which Dorothy said NOT to do! I think it contributed to my popovers not rising as much as I had hoped. They still tasted great though!
Lara Gabrielle is a writer and film historian. Her new book Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies was recently released from UC Press. She writes book reviews, festival coverage, and pieces on the history, theory and culture of film on her blog Backlots. You can find the book on Amazon or at Larry Edmund's Bookshop in Hollywood.
Danny Miller is a journalist, editor and film history expert. He also co-authored the book "About Face: The Life and Times of Dottie Ponedel: Make-up Artist to the Stars" with Meredith Ponedel. He's been very generous about letting me invade his 1909 Craftsman home to shoot this episode!
The Final Product
The popovers turned out well. This recipe is really easy to make and delicious. Danny and I added raspberry jam and applesauce to make them more of a breakfast item, but they could be a great addition to any meal.
There are several Dorothy Mackaill movies on DVD and on Turner Classic Movies!
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