Ladies and gentlemen...it's popover time at Miles and Laurel!
My mom used to make popovers once in a blue moon when I was a kid, and I loved them. They are like biscuits or rolls but 100 times better because they're puffy. I haven't had them in years and years, though, because they have a bad reputation for being really tough to bake - as in, they collapse, willy-nilly, without rhyme or reason. But as I was perusing recipes, I was reminded by one blogger: who cares if they collapse!? They still taste like popovers!
So I had Make popovers on my 101 in 1,001 list, and then I committed earlier this month to trying a recipe sometime in October. And then, as I was browsing Martha Stewart Living last week, I noticed a column about how to make the perfect popover. Some of you may call that seasonally appropriate baking content. I call it fate! I dug up a recipe online, got soup going on the stove this evening, and launched the 2012 Popover Project.
Listen, guys. For something that is literally just flour, salt, milk, and eggs, there sure are a lot of differing opinions about how to make popovers. Some people say heat the pan before baking, others say don't. Some say let the batter sit for half an hour, others say don't. The contradictions go on and on. Luckily, instead of making me feel frustrated and overwhelmed, it put me in the good old wing it and see what happens spirit.
I did try heating the muffin pan in advance, though. I had coated the pan with butter and was supposed to leave it in the oven until it was "piping hot" before pouring in the batter. I guess my oven took that a step further, to "smoking hot." One alarmed smoke detector later, I figured out that that pre-heating the pan just wasn't in the cards tonight.
I buttered another (cold) muffin pan and slung the batter into each cup, much less confident now that the popovers were going to turn out. Most recipes call for 15 minutes or so at a high temperature (450 degrees) and then 20 minutes at a lower temperature (350 degrees). I sneaked a tiny peek inside the oven midway through to make sure they weren't ablaze, but that's a big no-no because the popovers need the heat and steam and all of that. If the alarmed smoke detector hadn't been keeping a nose on the project, I would've left it shut.
The timer rang, and I gingerly opened the oven door, with no idea what I'd find in there.
Little puffy popovers!
I might have had a teeny cup of the soup and more popovers than originally intended. The only problem is that now that popovers are part of my toolkit, I might make them at least four times per week. All in the name of practicing until I find my own best recipe, right?
Tell me: Do you love popovers? Do you have any tried-and-true recipes for success? Please share!