popfully yours ::::
Although it doesn’t appear that the hackers got into my photo stash two weekends ago, I’m still a little gun shy about uploading new ones. I’d love to upload a few more popover pics, ones that accentuate the hills and valleys of crusty goodness and dribbles of melted butter intermingling with jam, but I’m maneuvering through a little different set up for photo upload than previously. Essentially, it’s really slow. I don’t have loads of time. It’s not that I’m feeling lackluster about beautiful photography. Sometimes it’s just about capturing the moment, and sometimes that moment is without butter.
Though esoteric in most circles, there is a popover debate, luckily never involving the use of butter. Let’s examine some arguments: Cold start oven versus warming the tins. Cold batter versus tepid batter. “Resting” the batter versus immediately placing in the oven. Muffin tins versus special popover pans versus ceramic. Baking soda versus baking powder versus none. Bread flour versus all-purpose. And there is the non-debatable, never PEEKING in the oven while popping! I’ve tried them ALL.
Having limited success for many years (years! the travesty!), I finally realized the real secret: the OVEN. When I had a reliable oven, that was when my popovers began popping beautifully. Sometimes I end up with a fully puffed pop. Other times, I have the crater pop formation (see photo above) for the perfect vessel in which to carry the jam and/or melted butter into my gaping maw. I have made popovers so many times with and without a reliable oven, I could do it in my sleep. I unashamedly admit I have dreamed of popovers, like a nocturnal time-lapsed 30 second movie of the growth cycle of some strange plant or fungus, only popovers taste much better than does a pitcher plant or a slime mold.
There is some waiting involved when making these; there is no doubt you need a lazy morning to mix up, bake, and eat the popovers. There are permutations galore: cinnamon and sugared popovers, dill and gorgonzola popovers, wheat, cheese, whatever. I often consider venturing into the fancier popover recipes but find myself so in love with the simpleton, the egg-flour-milk-salt mix, that I always back off. And think that maybe I’ll try something new next time. And then don’t.
Besides the never-peeking-in-the-oven rule, one other undebatable fact is that popovers are a fantastic breakfast. If you try another flavor combination, let me know. It might just push me over the edge to actually try it.
- 3 eggs
- 1½ cups 2% or whole milk*
- 1½ cups flour (sometimes I sift it)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 tablespoons of melted butter
- SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: standard-sized 12-well muffin tin
- Adjust oven rack to middle. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. While preheating, place 12-welled muffin tin (or analogous tin) in oven to warm.
- Gently beat eggs in a bowl. Mix in milk.
- Into a separate large bowl than egg-milk mixture, sift salt and flour together.
- Using an electric mixer or by hand, pour egg-milk mixture into the flour mixture and mix well. (Sometimes I also strain at this step, but it's optional.)
- Pull the hot muffin tin out of the oven and, working quickly, paint each well with melted butter. Pour in enough batter to fill each well about ⅞ths full.
- Put the tin back into the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. Leave the oven light on and watch the popovers rise.
- When the time goes off, DON'T PEEK. Leave the oven closed and reset the temperature and timer for 350 degrees and 10-15 minutes, respectively.**
- Serve immediately with plenty of butter and jam.