Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Homemade Popovers: Easy, Scrumptious, Kid-Approved

So, the other day on Facebook I was waxing rhapsodic about popovers--specifically, homemade popovers, which I had just made that day and whose deliciousness and simplicity of preparation had caused me to wonder, Now why in the world have I not made popovers since, like, 2002? They are unbelievable!--Little puffballs of warm eggy bready goodness, so fancy-seeming and yet so easy to make! What is our problem, all of us who are not making popovers, like, every day?--and my friend Lori in New York was all, "What's a popover?"

To which I responded with utter disbelief. What's a popover?! Doesn't everyone know what a popover is? (I guess not.) Which prompted me to wonder, are popovers regional?

I don't know, Internet. You all please write in and tell me: Do you know what popovers are? Are there popovers where you live? Is this a Midwest delectable?

Well. At any rate, I promised Lori that I would school her on the delights of the popover. Below is my recipe, and even two photos of the puffed-up result, fresh out of the oven. (They deflate a bit as time goes on, but they still taste great later, so if you have leftovers, don't despair. Microwave them a bit to warm them up, slather them with butter or jam, and enjoy.)

I don't know if other people's popovers look better than mine--more uniformly puffed, for example, without that little sinkhole in the middle, but I know there are many popover recipes out there, with slight variations from recipe to recipe. Some use a specialty pan called, appropriately enough, a popover pan, but my recipe calls for a good old standard muffin tin. The resulting roll is golden, crispy on top, and with the unique airy, eggy, custardy center that defines a popover. They're not sweet, and they're not fattening. But don't let that fool you. They are TOTALLY ADDICTIVE.

Pay close attention to the method. All the fiddling with the oven temperature is crucial to the rise of the popover and the contrast between the browned, crispy shell and the moist, custardy middle. Also, if your oven runs hot, you will need to keep an eye on your popovers during the final stage, and adjust the last baking period (at 350) as needed. And finally, if your popovers don't turn out, try, try again. As you can see from my photos below, sometimes they don't seem to rise up as high and puffy as usual, for no apparent reason. My personal theory is that it has something to do with the humidity on the day you are baking. (It is currently KILLER HUMID where I live, and these popovers did not puff as well as my last batch, on a less humid day.) They will taste delicious either way.

Shannon's Popovers
Makes 12

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
1 T. vegetable oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin.

Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and oil. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth and the consistency of heavy cream.

Pour batter into prepared cups, filling each about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Place in oven and immediately raise the temperature to 450 degrees and set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees again. Bake 15-20* minutes longer, or until tops and sides are well-browned.

*In my oven, the popovers are definitely fully browned in 15 minutes at this stage, sometimes less. But my oven is on the hot side.


Rita said...

I LOVE popovers. But haven't made them in FOREVER.

I even have the fancy-schmancy pan!

I'm making this recipe tonight.


If I have the energy.

Mom and Kiddo said...

We used to make popovers when I was a kid all the time. We had this really awesome cast iron popover pan which made the best popovers. Although my mom is from Minnesota, I don't think it is a midwestern thing as they are actually English (as I'm sure you know), but in Britain they are called "Yorkshire puddings" and are usually made as one gigantic popover. Yours look great. I've often thought of making them again but I only have muffin tins. You've inspired me.

OK, longest comment ever.

Mnmom said...

I love popovers! A local coffee shop sells them with SWEETENED ALMOND BUTTER!

Do I need a popover pan? Can I use a cupcake pan? I'm definitely going to make this.

Later this week watch for my awesome foccacia recipe.

Shan said...

No popover pan needed. I use a muffin tin. Good luck, Mnmom!

Anonymous said...

I'm from Kansas, but never had a popover until I moved to Minnesota. My mom is a great baker, but never made these. Maybe because her mom never did? That's how these things go, sometimes. Then my mom ate them at my house and had to have her own popover pan, too!

I used to use a special popover pan, which had six steep, deep cups. But I prefer the same recipe in a regular 12-cup muffin tin because we have 4 family members--that's three popovers each. Everyone wants more than one, people! Making six popovers does not promote peaceful dining in our house.

Laura H

Shan said...

Ha ha ha...that's funny Laura. But I KNOW the seriousness of peaceful dining!!!! ;) You have to consider such things, for sure!

Christopher Tassava said...