If you have ever had the pleasure of dining at Neiman Marcus, then you know how wonderful the popovers are when they arrive at your table. The classic strawberry butter that is served along side, just melts on each bite of the crunchy and rich popover. One of the classic starters at Neiman Marcus is the complimentary demitasse cup of handmade chicken broth with a petite puff pastry bite. The chicken flavor is out of this world and you will surely savor each sip. I first experienced this epitome of luxury at the Rotunda Restaurant which overlooks Union Square in San Francisco.
Mr. Stanely Marcus; or better known as “Mr. Stanley” was a greatly respected businessman whose celebrated acumen and promotional intellect defined and shaped the Neiman Marcus company. He was a second generation contributor to the business with his father, Herbert Marcus being the founder of this marquee company in 1907. Neiman Marcus is synonymous for taste, elegance and flair. He encouraged the chefs to be creative and put a modern twist on traditional recipes. Mr. Stanley focused on the customer.
A few of the notes that Mr. Stanley left for the forward to the Neiman Marcus cookbook are simply the reasons why this special restaurant is so successful. Here is his list:
- Customers do not like to wait more than two minutes to be recognized and four minutes to be seated.
- Customers like prompt service of food; Prompt service of breads, jams, and butter; and the service of a waiter one minute after being seated.
- The manager should be able to quickly inspect a dining room to see if any food has not been eaten.
- Offer a small dish newly added to the menu without a charge.
- Know the customers by name and know their habits and taste preferences.
- Prompt response to the customer’s eye and head signals, especially when it comes to presenting the check.
Recipe from Neiman Marcus Cookbook
4 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
6 large eggs, at room temperature
Pre-heat the oven to 450°F
Place the milk in a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until warm to the touch. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.
Crack the eggs into the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color. Turn down the mixer to low and add the warm milk. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Turn the machine off and let the batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
Spray a popover tin generously with nonstick spray. Fill the popover cups almost to the top with the batter and place the popover tin on a cookie sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until the popovers are a deep golden brown on the outside and airy on the inside.
Turn out the popovers and serve hot with strawberry butter.
Note: The key to making great popovers is having the eggs and milk warm before mixing. It is also important to let the batter sit for an hour before baking it. Popovers do not freeze well, and pre-made batter has a tendency not to work properly the next day.
Strawberry butter (optional)
3/4 C. Strawberry Preserves
1/2 C. Butter
Place the butter in the work bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high until light and fluffy. Add the preserves and beat until well combined.
To serve, spoon or pipe the flavored butter into 2-tablespoon ramekins or onto side plates.
Note: Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. This spread will last for two to three days.
Recipes from the Neiman Marcus Cookbook by Kevin Garvin