What makes Popovers “Pop”?

Popovers

Some names of food are so descriptive you can “see” them in your mind. Like angel food cake. Pecan pie.  And popovers. 

Popovers are fun! They’re sturdier than they look, too. They bake all puffed up with their own importance. Some are high-hat tall. Others have billowy cloud-like tops with squatty bottoms. 

It’s simple food science: a combination of milk, eggs, flour and salt creates a structure that traps steam in a hot oven. The batter basically “pops over” the pan, making unique and hollow puffy treats.

My daughter-in-law, Jess, inspired me to bake popovers again. She made a batch and served it with salted maple butter. She didn’t use the popover pans I gave her. “Muffin tins worked great”, she said. 

Good news for those who thought a special baking pan for popovers was necessary. 

Maybe you’d like to try popovers again, as well. If you’re a newbie to popover baking, no worries. My reliable recipe works. A whisk, a bowl and you’re good to go.

I tested it using both popover pans and muffin tins. The popover pans produced taller popovers with poofy tops and slender bases. Muffin tin popovers looked like high rise muffins with puffy tops. Both baked up nicely, with hollow centers.  

I ate two warm from the oven with dollops of wild berry jam. 

Instead of bread for your holiday feast, how about popovers?

Perfect popovers

No peeking — the initial hot oven produces enough steam inside popovers to allow them to rise high. Opening oven door may cause collapse. 

Ingredients

1-1/4 cups milk, room temperature 

3 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

1-1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425. Place rack on bottom rung of oven.

Spray popover pans or muffin tins.

Whisk milk and eggs together in bowl until blended.

Add flour and salt and whisk until mixture is smooth. This won’t take long.

Fill popover pans half full; muffin tins 3/4 way up.

Place in oven on bottom rack. This allows even baking without getting tops brown too soon. Bake 20 minutes. No peeking! 

Reduce temperature to 350. Continue baking 15-20 minutes to allow insides to bake/dry out completely. When done, popovers will be deep golden brown. 

Remove from pans immediately after baking. Cut one open — it should be hollow inside; if not, bake a few minutes more. 

Yield: 10-12 popovers.

Tip:

I used nonstick aluminum pans, but still sprayed them.

Make ahead

Let cool completely to prevent sogginess. 

Keep, well wrapped, at room temperature or in refrigerator a few days, or freeze for a month or so. 

Rewarm at 350 or so just until warm.

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