It’s currently 48° F, with the wind south by southwest off the sea, blowing steadily at 20 knots with gusts strong enough to shake the cabin. In other words, it’s a great time for soup or stew. As an accompaniment to that, you’d be hard pressed to beat a nice, hot popover.
There are plausible claims that popovers are a U.S. dish. The oldest recipe reference to popovers I’m aware of is American, within M. N. Henderson’s Practical Cooking, which dates to the Centennial year of 1876.
It’s thought that the popover is naught but younger kin to Yorkshire Pudding, which certainly makes sense. Perhaps it’s good old yankee ingenuity that is evident in their making; much smaller, they don’t require the lengthy beat/chill/beat sequence that a Yorkshire does to rise successfully. They can be enjoyed in less than 45 minutes, as opposed to several hours.
While the batter for popovers is simplicity itself, the successful baking thereof is not. The tricks to great popovers are as follows;
1. Have all ingredients at room temperature before you incorporate them; this allows faster heating, which is critical to a good rise.
2. Scalding the milk; heating the milk helps integrate it with the other batter constituents, and promote a faster rise and lighter final product.
3. Very through blending of the batter; as with a quiche or frittata, well blended ingredients, with a wealth of minute air bubbles worked into the batter, make for a lighter popover. An immersion blender does the best job of this, especially one that has a beater head.
4. Heat the tin and the fat, (butter); again, having everything as hot as possible when introduced to baking heat allows that energy to be used for generating steam, the engine behind a well-risen popover, rather than it being needed to simply heat the pan and the batter.
5. Don’t open the oven door while they’re cooking, period.
Here’s our go to version. They’ll take you about 10 minutes to make.
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Milk
2 Large Eggs
3 Tablespoons unsalted Butter
1 teaspoon SeaSalt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Have all ingredients at room temperature, (Butter doesn’t matter, since you’ll melt it shortly).
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Pour milk into a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove the milk when it scalds, (small bubbles formed along the edge of the pan), and set aside to cool.
Melt butter, and lightly brush 6 to 8 cups of a muffin tin with same.
Slide the muffin tin into the hot oven for about 5-7 minutes.
Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl; whisk until well blended, about 1-2 minutes.
Add milk, flour, remaining melted butter, and salt; with an immersion blender, whisk briskly until the batter is smooth and even, about 2-3 minutes.
Remove tin from oven and fill each roughly half way with batter.
Bake until fully inflated and golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Serve immediately, piping hot.