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Popovers

Popovers are so wonderful to eat and so simple to make that, if you were the eater, you’d wonder why the baker didn’t make them more often. The answer is that you need a few items that are uncommonly used in baking:

1. A popover tin, which has deeper wells than a muffin tin (although muffin tins can work). This is one of the few utensils in your kitchen that is preferably made with a non-stick coating.

2. Faith, hope and prayer. You have to follow the recipe exactly, and restrain yourself from opening the oven to check the baking progress of the popovers.

Popovers

3. The ability to get everybody into the kitchen when they’re ready, because they’re at their best right out of the oven and go downhill quickly.

4. The persistence to keep trying this recipe until you finally get it perfect. As you will.

These may sound like great breakfast items, and they are. But they’re also marvelous at the beginning of dinner.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 generous tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 prayer of your choice

Preheat the oven with a rack in the center to 450 degrees.

1. Remove and measure all the ingredients about a half-hour before you begin, so they can come to room temperature.

2. While waiting, coat the inside of the tins (one large tin or two small ones) with a thin film of shortening, then dust with flour.

3. Melt the butter. Combine the milk, butter, and flour in a bowl and whisk just until the flour is blended uniformly.

4. Whisk in half the beaten egg, then the other half after the first is blended in completely.

5. Pour the batter into the tins, filling each pocket about two-thirds full. Put the tins in the middle of the oven and reset the timer to 17 minutes. Say the prayer.

6. When the timer goes off, lower the heat to 325 degrees and set the timer to 18 minutes. Do not open the oven to check! When the timer goes off again, set it to two minutes and get everybody into the kitchen.

7. When the timer sounds a third time, open the oven, remove the tins, and poke a slit in the tops of all the popovers. Which, if all went well, popped over. Eat greedily and quickly.

Makes eight to twelve popovers.

1 Readers Commented

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  1. O. C. Smith on March 18, 2017

    I have recently gone pretty much crazy buying cast iron cookware, and I lucked into a vintage Griswold cast iron pan that I’m fairly certain is a popover pan.
    I know that when baking in cast iron, ( cirnbread, biscuits, cakes, etc ) it is essential to warm the pot first. Do you have any advice as to time and temp for warmup? Also should I grease first and wait to flout until after warmup,? Heat it dry then grease and flour? Your pithy advice is always valued.

    O. C.

    TOMMENT:
    You are not the only one. My pleasure.

    Cast-iron cookware, the oldest kind of modern cookware in wide use. It does certain things extremely well, and other things very badly. Its non-stick surface–which is also what makes it black–makes cooking easy. But you have to sort of grow it on the iron surface.

    Cast iron takes a long time to heat up and cool down. This has its advantages, notably for deep frying. The iron holds the heat better than almost anything else. On the other hand, while sauteeing something, if you leave the food in the pan after you turn the heat off, it will keep on cooking as if the heat were still on for quite awhile.

    Cast iron is brittle and heavy. It can break, and it can break things. It can rust. Although manufacturers now claim their cast-iron skillets are pre-seasoned, I still think it’s a good idea to go through the seasoning process. Here’s how:

    Scrub it very well with a gritty scouring powder (the best is Zud, but Comet or Ajax are okay). Use a plastic scrub pad–do not use steel wool, which will actually cause rust. After you’ve scrubbed away any crusty or rusty patches, rinse the pan very well and dry it thoroughly. Coat it with a generous amount of vegetable oil, and put it into the oven at 250 degrees for about a half-hour. When it cools, coat it again with more oil and repeat the process.

    The first few times you use it, deep-fry something in it. Then it will have a very good coating that will become non-stick over time. Don’t wash it with anything but plain water after that. If it ever gets rusty, just repeat the process above.

    Skillets used for blackened dishes get so hot that all the seasoning burns off. If you plan to do a lot of blackened dishes, buy one skillet just for that. After cleaning, give it a coating of oil to prevent rust. And don’t forget to put the thing in your will, benefitting the most avid cook in your family.
    Tastefully yours,
    Tom Fitzmorris

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