Popovers

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Isn’t there something magical about popovers,? No yeast, baking soda, or baking powder is needed to transform a handful of simple ingredients (just eggs, milk, flour, salt, and butter) into edible hot air balloons. The steam that’s created in the hot oven is what makes them pop – and makes us smile! Piping hot and dripping with butter and honey (from our neighbor’s bee hives, no less!), Tim rates a bite of this culinary marvel as one of his top 10. Stay tuned for the other 9…

One bit of advice: Resist the urge to open the oven door! Opening it allows heat to escape and causes the oven to cool down. This, in turn, causes the steam inside the popovers to condense and the popovers to collapse. Instead, take a peek through the oven window to see the magic at work!

Popovers

adapted from The Best New Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated

Makes 12. (Just barely enough for my family of 5! Plan on 2-3 per person as “no one can eat just one”)

Unlike most popover batters, this one is smooth, not lumpy. High heat is crucial to the speedy, high rise of the popovers. When it’s time to fill the popover pans with batter, get the pans out of and back into the oven as quickly as possible, making sure to close the oven door while you pour the batter into the pans. (I often fill one pan while Tim does the other to speed things along.) Popovers made in a 12-cup muffin tin won’t rise nearly as high as those made in a popover pan, but they can still be quite good. See the variation that follows if you can’t locate a popover pan. (But try to – they’re fun!)

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

butter, honey, jam, or maple syrup for serving

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In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk until well combined, about 20 seconds. Whisk the flour and salt in a medium bowl and add to the egg mixture; stir with a wooden spoon or spatula just until the flour is incorporated; the mixture will still be lumpy. Add the melted butter. Whisk until the batter is bubbly and smooth, about 30 seconds. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

While the batter is resting, measure 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil into each cup of the popover pans. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place the popover pans in the oven, and heat to 450 degrees. After the batter has rested, pour half of it into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or another container with a spout and do the same with the other half (you will have about 2 cups of batter in each). Working quickly, remove the pans from the oven and distribute the batter evenly among the 6 cups in each pan, filling each cup a little less than half full. Return the pans to the oven and bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, without opening the oven door. Lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown all over, 13 to 18 minutes more. Remove the popovers and place on a wire rack to cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Muffin Tin Popovers

Makes 10

Halve the recipe and proceed as above, using a 12-cup muffin tin in place of a popover pan and using only the 10 outer cups of the tin. You will need an extra 2 teaspoons vegetable oil to grease the muffin tin.

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