Aug 23, 2010

Classic Popovers

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So, I’m curious, guys, what are some of the most delicious words you can think of? Which is to say, what are the words that just sound so divine while saying them that you want to eat them? To be fair, these sort of exercises are an ongoing thing for me, but all psychological quirks aside, I know I can’t be the only one who finds a sort of lip-smacking pleasure in saying the word “cheesecake” in a slow, drawn-out manner, letting each tasty syllable roll off the tongue. I also feel like this about the word “spatula” for reasons that I cannot explain. But certainly we can all agree on the word “popovers” as being a completely edible word. Light, crisp, irresistibly buttery. Say it with me now–popovers. Yum, right?

So there’s a couple schools of thought on popovers. Some people like them so crisp, light and hollow that they’re almost like pâte à choux (think cream puff shells). Other people like something more doughy with an almost custardy center. I’d like to think this recipe falls somewhere in the middle. And the beauty of it is that I believe it to be adjustable for your tastes. If you like a heartier, eggier end product, use all three eggs, and if you want them drier and lighter, just cut an egg. Either way, the prep here couldn’t be simpler–just eggs, milk, flour and a touch of salt, whisked together and in the oven in minutes.

The magic of a popover happens during baking, and this is the time where I can be found with my face pressed up against the glass of the oven door, staring with Mr. Wizard-like amazement as the batter climbs into pillars of golden goodness–pop, pop, pop!–before my very eyes.

The best popover results will come with a real popover pan, the kind with dark colored, narrow, individual cups hanging on thin bars, which allows heat to really circulate around each cup for a maximum rise. But you can totally make them in a muffin tin, or even better, individual thin-walled custard cups set directly on the oven rack, which will most closely replicate a popover pan. But whatever you bake them in, the flavor possibilities for popovers are practically endless here–plain with salted butter and jam for breakfast, grated hard cheese of all sorts (Parm? Cheddar?–awesome), fresh herbs to compliment a main savory dish. Delightful, I’d say.

Classic Popovers

To get the best rise, gently warm the eggs in a bowl of hot tap water and heat the milk in the microwave before beginning. If you like a slightly drier, more crisp popover, eliminate one of the eggs. And unlike most baking recipes, the texture and flavor of popovers improves with the use of low-fat, not whole, milk.

Makes 6

3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup warm milk (low-fat is better than whole–see note)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour (measure by spooning and leveling), sifted

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 425 degrees. Have ready a 6-cup popover pan (if it’s nonstick, no greasing required), or butter 6 custard cups or a muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and salt until well-blended. Add the flour and whisk gently to blend. If you’re whisking for than a minute or so and some small lumps remain, pour the batter through a sieve to remove them rather than risk overmixing the batter.

Divide the batter equally among the 6 cups (each should be about 1/2 full). Bake for 30-35 minutes until the popovers are impressively puffed and golden. If the popovers are getting too dark, turn down the temperature by about 25 degrees during the last 10-15 minutes of baking.

As soon as the popover come out of the oven, pierce them 2-3 times with the tip of a sharp knife to release steam and help them keep their shape. Unmold and serve as soon as possible.

  • I always thought the word "creamsicle" sounded really delicious. The word itself just sounds cool and sweet and milky. Yum.

    I just pick up a new popover pan at a thrift store (brand new for $.99!) and I've been looking for a good popover recipe! I'll have to give these a try when the weather cools down a bit.

  • The word "tiramisu" always just sounds so darn delicious…and it sure is!

    Never tried making popovers before, but will add them to my list of things to try! : )

  • Creme brulee and macaron. I could say them over and over.

    I love popovers! I made some parmesan herb popovers a few months ago, but wish I'd had a popover pan. I used a muffin pan, not as stunning to look at but just as delicious.

  • Caramel. Sounds smooth and sweet.
    I think I need a popover pan- these sound really yummy.

  • I think mine would be "s'mores". I have been saying it all summer and it still doesn't get old. I love 'em! I have never tried making popovers, but these look delicious!!

  • Will you computer slap me if I tell you that I've never ever had a popover? Well, I haven't…although I have wished to try one, the opportunity just hasn't presented itself.
    And here I find myself once again,separated from popovers by time and distance…sigh..maybe now I can just make them myself?

  • How interesting that low fat milk is actually better for these. They look absolutely delicious! I could snack on them all day long, no doubt!

  • I looooooooove popovers! I might have to make my own now 🙂 A restaurant near me makes popovers and serves them with apple butter. Mmmmmmmmm.

  • I have never had a popover…I used to think it was like a pop tart, because I am THAT classy 😉
    I'm thinkin' my husband is gonna kill me when I come home with a new pan…
    So your superhero power is tasting words?
    I, on the other hand, get skeeved out when I hear most food adjectives…weirdo.

  • Excellent photo!:)

    These are great for tea-time.

  • I've never had a popover. These look delicious! Just wish I had the pan 🙁

  • I have never even HEARD of a popover, how sad is that? But these look an awful lot like what my Mom called "Yorkshire Pudding" – is it the same thing??

    I love the word "spark." Not a food word, but I love how it sounds and feels when is say it. Spark Spark Spark

  • My favorite food words: "molten" and "chocolate". When you say them together they are positively provocative. PS. Your popover look delicious.

  • Today's the first time I've heard of the work 'popovers' so I googled it and here I am 😉
    It looks amazing, i can't wait to give it a go! I'm sure my face would be glued to my over door as well haha

  • These look amazing! The best popovers I've ever had were at The Rotunda in the Neiman Marcus store in San Francisco. They serve them with strawberry butter *drool*. I think I have to buy a popover pan and make some now….

  • at my country Indonesia we used to call "sus" we have the crispy version, and I have a plan to made it tomorrow =)

    I have new post on my blog at

    tell me your opinion abaout it


  • I have yet to bake, or eat for that matter, popovers! You make it look pretty simple, I think I'll try it!

  • I made these tonight for dinner, served w/ cream of turkey and rice soup ( They were perfect and beautiful and so easy, and I will definitely make these again and again. I doubled the recipe, and it filled 12 muffin cups and 18 mini-muffin cups w/ a tiny bit left over. Thank you for sharing.

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