I figured that if I was going to criticize the popovers at Popover Cafe, I’d better be able to make a pretty darned perfect one myself.
Given that I’d never done it before, I was a little nervous, so I scoured the web for recipes and advice before starting. And thanks to the Joy of Cooking, Mark Bittman, Ina Garten and all the great food bloggers out there who have preceded me on this adventure (see links at the end of this post), my popovers turned out to be pretty near perfect, and to my mouth, at least, much tastier than the ones at Popover’s Cafe.
Pretty Near Perfect Popovers
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk (I used lowfat mixed with a little half and half)
2 large eggs
1 tbsp melted butter, plus another tbsp to grease the pan
A little flour or sugar to dust the pan
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat popover pan on a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes or so while combining the ingredients.
Make sure the milk, eggs and butter are at 70 degrees. (I heated the milk in the microwave then cooled in to around 70 or so degrees Fahrenheit).
Whisk flour and salt together in a bowl.
Whisk milk, butter and eggs together in a larger bowl.
Add flour to wet ingredients, whisking just enough to combine. It should be thin like cream and small lumps are okay.
Take popover pan out of oven and brush inside of cups with melter butter. Sprinkle a little sugar or flour on the cup inside walls. Pour in batter to 3/4 full. Place in oven so that the tops of the popovers will end up in the middle of the oven (My gas oven has the heat on the bottom).
Bake at 450 for 20 minutes. Do not open the oven door to peek (But if you have a glass door and a light, do look through the window and watch them pop!)
Lower heat to 350 and bake another 20 minutes. Remember, no peeking except through the glass!
Remove from oven and immediately from pan. Insert a sharp knife into popover to let the steam escape (And don’t worry – if they are done, they won’t collapse).
Serve warm with butter and jam.
Popover Thoughts and Questions
1. Should my popovers have popped a bit more? The little dent in the middle makes me think so, but my god, they were delicious!
2. I think may have over-filled the cups, since I ran out of batter before the last cup. That may be why I didn’t get that last “pop” on my popovers.
3. Does the manner of combination of ingredients matter? For instance, Joy of Cooking has you combine everything but the eggs and then beat in the eggs. Another recipe has you beating the eggs first till they are a light color and then adding the milk and melted butter. I wonder if it makes a difference…
4. I’ve read that sifting the flour makes for a better pop. Some recipes call for bread flour instead of all purpose. (Don’t use cake flour, though – it won’t make enough strong gluten to keep the popover risen.)
5. Most commercial popover recipes (Such as those from Jordon Pond Restaurant and Nieman Marcus) rely on baking powder, probably so they have a guaranteed pop. I think that’s contrary to the magic of popovers – the fact that they rise without leavening. The rise comes from the steam produced by the high proportion of liquid ingredients in the batter, supported by a sidewall strengthened by gluten.
6. This recipe from Apartment Therapy uses 1/4 cup more milk than mine, and what a gorgeous pop they got! It makes sense that more liquid might just help. So next time I will be sifting the flour, filling the cups only a little more than halfway and using a bit more milk (whole milk this time). Will post the results.
- The Perfect Popover by Lynn Bonnett– Everything you need to know is here.
- Joy of Baking – This apple popover looks delish!
- Christy at All Recipes– Nice photos and great comments
- Chowhound– Nice discussion on technique in the comments section
- One More Moore— Another blogger inspired by Popovers Restaurant. Gorgeous popovers!
- Popover Science– Answered a lot of my questions.
- Popover variations – Try Lemon-Scented, Cheese, and Gluten-free.
- Michael Pollen uses whole wheat + white flour, and still gets a pop.
- Obama is like a popover. Discuss.
Of course, since this is an election year, I can’t ignore this post from Valentine Bonnaire comparing Obama to a Popover…
That thin crispy shell on the outside and nothing but a cavern of hot air inside. Popovers — another example of something with all of the audacity of nothingness. They taste good while you are consuming them, but there just isn’t a whole lot there is there?
I beg to differ. A popover is not a lot of nothingness – it has lots and lots of delicious flavor. And if Obama is like a popover, well, then it’s because he is taking politics to a higher level. A popover has to have a strong crust to hold itself up there, and he’s got that. And if he needs a little butter and jam to make him perfect, well that’s just fine with me. We’ve got plenty of that.