This month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge was quick bread. Believe it or not this category extends further than your average banana bread. Muffins, scones, biscuits, loaves, and… popovers! Basically any bread like good who’s batter is quickly assembled and prepared with a leavening agent other than yeast (baking soda and/or baking powder). Lucky for me I had made these weeks ago to share with you so I had this challenge in my “back pocket”, so to speak.
I can’t express to you enough how much I hate recipes and foods that require special pans to cook in. Who wants to buy a pan for just one thing. Expecially! If you only make that one recipe every once in a great, big, blue moon. You know? Well, anyways, that’s why it pains me so much to be sharing popovers with you… but I can’t help it, I just LOVE them. I swear I could sit down and eat a whole darn tray of them.
Now popovers are a very special kind of treat. For those of you that have never had them, they are not really like a yeasted bread or anywhere near the texture of a muffin or a roll. They are more like what you get when you make a dutch pancake or even a crepe. Kind of eggy and springy in texture. Some people *cough*my husband*cough* find the texture so different that it is unappealing. They bite in to it expecting bread… what they taste is egg. Not to say that they do taste just of egg, but that’s what picky people will pull away from them. They have a hollow interior and slightly crisp crust. Just delicious.
Now, not only are popovers a little different in taste and texture, but they are also super sensitive. They require exact instructions and if you mess with it in the slightest bit, they may not come out for you.
Firstly, the batter needs to set up for 30 minutes before baking. While the batter is sitting, you need to preheat the oven at a very high temperature with the popover pan in it. 5-6 minutes before you bake them, you need to put about a tsp of oil in each cup and heat that as well. Then you need to quickly add the batter and let the popovers bake without opening the oven door even a smidge or they will collapse.
This is what they look like all puffed up and beautiful as soon as they are finished in the oven. Most of the time, my popovers collapse after a few minutes out of the oven. This isn’t ideal, but they still taste great so I never complain. I’ve read places that you can poke a small hole to vent them with a toothpick and that helps. I’ve done that and it hasn’t helped… but maybe you’ll have more luck with it then I will!
The recipe I shared with you is for Alton Brown’s popovers. I have tried Ina Gartens’ as well and they are excellent. Also I’ve made Cook’s Illustrated, but they weren’t my favorite recipe as far as popovers go.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 4¾ ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- about 2 Tb oil
- Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with the popover pan inside. Put 1 tsp oil in each popover cup and heat in oven for 5 minutes. Divide the batter evenly between the cups of the popover pan, each should be about ⅓ to ½ full. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the popovers to a cooling rack and pierce each in the top with a knife to allow steam to escape. Serve warm.