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I love the popovers at the in Valley Park. They are delicious and so rare in this area.

Debbie Smith, Ballwin

Tina Cassimatis is a popover maven, turning out dozens every day, to be served with soups, salads, entrees and tea.

"You can freeze these and warm them up later, but they aren't as good," she noted.

Neither sweet nor savory, tender popovers can serve as a container for shrimp salad, a breakfast treat with jam or just a nosh with tea. This recipe can be prepared in regular muffin tins, although the classic shape yields a taller pastry. Choose tins that are deep and narrow rather than shallow and wide.

For more than three years, Cassimatis and daughters Francine Gallo and Elaine Willingham have been providing light lunch and teatime at their tea room.

They recently hired Peter Hoose, a chef from Liverpool, England, who is "bringing some British flair to The Tea Room," Gallo said. has two sittings, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. With limited parking and a small dining area, reservations are advised.

Popovers - Tea Room in the Valley

Yield: 24 miniature popovers

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

6 eggs

3 cups milk

3 tablespoons melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray mini popover pans (see note) heavily with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2. Using a whisk, stir together flour and salt. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until well mixed; stir in milk, then melted butter. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients. (Batter will be like thick cream.)

3. Fill pans 2/3 full. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Popovers may be frozen after they have cooled.

Note: Mini popover pans are shaped like truncated cones. They can be found at Willliams-Sonoma, Sur la Table and other kitchen specialty stores.

Tester's note: These are easily removed from well-sprayed nonstick bakeware. Avoid using lightweight, shiny aluminum tins.

Per popover: 104 calories; 4g fat (35 percent calories from fat); 2g saturated fat; 60mg cholesterol; 4g protein; 13g carbohydrate; 1.5g sugar; 0.5g fiber; 127mg sodium; 44mg calcium; 78mg potassium.

Tea Room in the Valley

505 Meramec Station Road

Valley Park

636-225-4832

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