I know, I know. What is a popover? Well, to begin with, they’re a great replacement for the traditional (often unexceptional) dinner roll. They are fun to eat because parts of them are totally hollow while other parts of them have a little bready heft. They pair beautifully with butter. They are excellent to have around if you’re planning a night of feeding your feelings or binge watching television with a steady supply of food for moral support. In conclusion, they are food friends.
A popover is a slightly eggy, hollow bread that can be made in a popover pan (I broke and bought one of these. No regrets.) or a muffin tin. Popover pans come in a smaller 6-cup size and a larger 12-cup size. I opted for the bigger one for times I want to double the batch, but not my baking time. Popovers are really good as your meal’s side bread, on their own, or with butter and jam. My husband has proven, just as of this morning, that you can force a popover that”s been cut in half into the toaster in case you want it hot for your butter and jam session. I love them for sopping up gravy or anything saucy leftover on my plate. And really, there’s no end to what you can put on these things. They’re a perfect canvas for adding other flavors to.
Some recipes call for room temperature ingredients. This recipe won’t punish you for cold ingredients because there is a built-in 30-minutes rest period for the initially bubbly batter.
Once you pour them into their hot pan and get them in the oven, the rising starts to happen pretty quickly. Resist the urge to open the oven! Don’t mess with the heat in there. That’s what’s responsible for the beautiful rise you get. This rise is part of what led me to call this my go to popover recipe. Nothing else I’ve tried has gotten such a great rise. Also worth noting is that while some folks might say that to be a true popover you should be using meat drippings (i.e. fat), I found that using chicken fat, which I thought would be so good, actually led to a lower rise and heavier popover. If you have good results with drippings, I’d like to hear what you did.
There’s a good chance you have all the ingredients for popovers in your kitchen right now. Do-it! Do-it! Do-it! Join the club. You won’t regret it. And to put my money where my mouth is, know that I made these just yesterday. I had a 450° oven going on a 90° day. I don’t do that for just any food friend, just my besties.
Except for not specifying the kind of butter to use, this recipe comes straight from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook. Makes 6 popovers. (See muffin tin recipe changes at the end!)
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup (5 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Pulse milk and eggs in a food processor or blend in a blender until smooth.
Add flour, melted butter and salt and process or blend until the surface is bubbly, for 1 minute. Keep covered and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place an oven rack in the lowest position possible. Make sure not to have another rack immediately above this one. Your popovers may very well rise high enough to hit it! Put 1/2 teaspoon of oil into each popover cup before putting it in the oven. Set your oven to 450° and wait for it to preheat while your batter continues to rest.
Pour your rested batter into a measuring cup (you should have about 2 cups), and once the oven is ready, take out your pan (make sure to close the oven quickly so the heat doesn’t escape!) and pour batter into each prepared cup. Do your best to divide is equally. This might be a little messy sometimes, so be careful to pour carefully. Sometimes I use a small ladle if I’m off my pouring game.
Put the pan in the oven and do not open the door for 20 minutes.
Once that timer goes off, lower the temperature to 350° and bake for another 15-18 minutes, without opening the oven again, until the popovers are golden on top. Once golden, take them out of the oven, hold the pan sideways oven a wire cooling rack, and gently tip the popovers out, or gently twist them out with a light touch. I usually end up doing the latter, but once in awhile they do just fall out.
Let your popovers cool a bit before eating them. Alternately, you can open one up down the middle so it can cool a little faster, and in the meantime, you either take small bites that only burn a little, or use up a little time while you get the butter out. Enjoy!
Muffin Tin Popovers
Use a 12-cup muffin tin, filling the 10 outermost cups only. Total oil will increase to 5 teaspoons (you’ll still use 1/2 teaspoon per cup). Batter will be spread evenly among your 10 outermost cups.