Sunday, June 21, 2015

Popovers, or Flaky Little Mouthfuls of Heaven…You Decide!

I wanted to try something new for Father’s Day Brunch and since I had some homemade jam to showcase (more on that later!), I landed on popovers.  Have you ever had these amazing and surprisingly easy pastries?  They are definitely best warm right out of the oven which is why you don’t see them at bakeries or stores frequently, but they’re like a wondrous cross between and soufflĂ© and a croissant; flaky, airy, moist, buttery, and really the perfect vehicle for some great honey or jam.  They rise beautifully if you can resist the urge to keep checking them in the oven and when the steam releases as they cool, it creates this incredibly buttery pockets, just perfect for holding jam or whatever topping you decide to add. They truly are heavenly and you probably have the ingredients and equipment in your kitchen right now!

Basic popovers only have 5 ingredients – butter, flour, salt, eggs and milk.  That’s all the ones I made had too, but you could definitely make them into a dinner item by adding a little thyme and grated cheese!  Let’s start with the basic recipe for now.  If you have a popover pan, by all means use it!  You will get taller and slightly larger popovers, but you can definitely use a muffin pan too.  A muffin tin was all I had, and mine came out wonderful.  Since there are only five ingredients, focus on good ones!  Use farm fresh eggs if possible and good quality sea salt and butter.  It really will make a difference.

Ingredients for 18 muffin-sized popovers

2 cups Milk (2% or whole works best)
4 Eggs
½ tsp Salt
2 cups Flour
6 Tbsp Butter

Preheat your over to 450. You can easily make the batter in your blender - that’s what I did for easier clean-up.  If not, get out a large bowl and a whisk or your standing mixer.  First, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter (microwave works well for this). Now, add the eggs and milk into the blender or bowl and mix together.  Add in the melted butter and blend a bit more, finishing with the flour and salt.  Now melt the remaining 4 Tbsp butter, and set it aside.  

Once your oven is preheated, place the muffin or popover tin in the oven for at least 3 minutes to get it hot.  Carefully remove it from the oven and add the melted better equally into each of the muffin cups.  Pour the batter about 2/3 full into each cup, on top of the melted butter.  Place the pan in the oven on the center rack.  Back for 15 minutes at 450 and then reduce the temp to 350, baking for another 15 minutes.  

Don’t open the oven door to check on them until the time is up.  I know it’s hard to resist, but it will cause your gorgeous popovers to fall early which will affect their unique and lush texture.  Apparently, starting with a warm pan and high heat, helps the popovers rise and get flaky on the outside, lowering the temperature midway, helps them not collapse immediately and creates the wonderful airy texture on the inside.

As soon as you remove these from the oven, flip the pan over to get all the popovers out and then take a small knife and quickly pierce the bottom of each pastry to allow some steam to escape.  Then, you can turn them all back over the serve warm.  Some people add more butter but my family just enjoyed them with plenty of jam.  We happened to have homemade jams on hand (plum and strawberry), but any good preserve, honey or jam would be excellent.

I promise there won’t be any leftovers and if there are, they’d be delicious with a little chicken salad served in the center the next day for lunch.  Enjoy!