Category Archives: Popovers

Making Popovers

Now me, I’ll eat a popover all by itself with jam, pork roast be damned. However there’s no denying how good they are as an accompaniment to meat. Plus they’re so fast and easy to make you can turn out a batch while your roast is settling on the counter. There’s a myth that popovers are tricky things. But that isn’t so, provided you’re clued in to the importance of developed gluten in the batter and can wield a blender, food processor or whisk with authority.

Get your ingredients together, making sure they’re at room temperature, and preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine them all in some sort of culinary machine…a blender, food processor or stand mixer fitted with a paddle (beater). If you lack those, get a bowl and a whisk and be prepared to batter some batter. Here I’m putting the good ol’ Waring to use.

I blend everything together for 30 seconds on a medium-high setting. Why do this? Because because the secret to gluten activation is hydration and agitation. Here we have both. Hey, I almost rapped! Activation. Agitation. Hydration. Call me J.P. Biggie Masta Wack.

Diddy. Or something along those lines. Anyway, after 30 seconds of intense working by machine, the batter will look like this:

Here I should add that at this point you can let this batter sit for up to a couple of hours but don’t refrigerate it. Trying to bake the chilled batter will ruin the puff. Have a popover pan greased? Do that. You can use a muffin tin, but these really are better. They have more height and space.

Now pour the batter evenly all around, about an inch deep. Put that into a 450 oven for 20 minutes —without opening the door to check them — then turn the heat down to 350 and bake another ten minutes.

And BOOM y’all.

Why no door opening? Because a cool breeze can collapse them. Just be patient. If they need more browning, keep baking for up to another ten minutes.

Serve them right away, or if you want to keep them poke or cut a hole in the tops to let the steam escape (it will re-condense otherwise and make the popover gluey inside). Turn off the oven and return the popovers, popping the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Leave them there to dry out until the oven is completely cool. Then remove them and store airtight in a bag. Or freeze them if you wish. Warm them again before you serve them in a medium (325) oven.

Easy right? True dat.

Filed under:  Pastry, Popovers | 13 Comments

Popover Recipe

Popover recipes tend to be very consistent in their proportions since the science that underlies them is constant. Herbs and other flavorings are an exception to that rule, and are popular with American cooks (traditional Yorkshire pudding has no herbs). Popover recipes can, however, differ in technique. I’m stymied by recipes that tell the cook to whisk the batter gently or until “just combined.” That’s a rule for pancake or crêpe batter — which popover batter closely resembles — or for quick breads or cakes, where you don’t want much gluten development.

It’s the opposite with popovers. In this case you want lots of developed gluten to give the rising bread the elasticity it needs to stretch and hold steam. For that reason I recommend a blender or a food processor. If you have neither of those and rely on a whisk, use plenty of elbow grease, and consider using bread flour (or a mix of half bread and half all-purpose) to amp up the gluten content. By no means use pastry flour, cake flour or a fine Southern flour, which won’t do the job here. Either go Yankee or make dinner rolls instead. The ingredients are:

1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) melted, unsalted butter
5 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temperature
8 ounces (1 cup milk), room temperature

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and butter a popover pan. Put all the ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend for about 30 seconds. Pour the batter evenly into the pan cups and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 and bake another 15 to 20 minutes until the popovers are well browned. Place the popovers on a rack and poke each one with a knife or skewer to allow steam to escape. Serve them warm.

Filed under:  Pastry, Popovers | 11 Comments