May 8, 2015

Sugar and Spice Popovers

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Fellow moms out there–holla if y’all hear me?–this is our weekend. Our legit ticket to be pampered and flowered and gifted upon and generally do whatever the heck we want without apology or guilt. I encourage you to embrace it, whatever that means to you at your given stage of motherhood. It could be as extravagant as a spa day, or just some extra sleep and plenty of wine, or for some of you with toddlers and younger, this simply might mean peeing alone. For me, it will mean a little family getaway, and maybe, if I’m lucky, this necklace, a lemon meringue cake from Tartine, and a t-shirt that says I SHAMELESSLY ASK MY HUSBAND FOR GIFTS BY BROADCASTING MY WISHES ON THE INTERNET. A girl can dream.

The point is this–you do you, ladies. Whatever it takes to remember that we all deserve a little breather and a major high five for keeping our offspring alive and cracking open our souls for them every single day, and living with the sort of constant, low-lying anxiety (what do they need/where are they/how are they/who will they become) that buzzes deep within us at all times because we are mothers. We should treat ourselves with a little something homemade and sweet and simple, or at least give our partners and kids a simple, awesome recipe that they can make for us (and for crying out loud, clean up afterwards). And if you’re not a mother yourself, consider this recipe the perfect way to treat the mothers in your life in a breakfast-y way.

I first made a batch of these sugared, spiced popovers a few weekends ago. It was a lazy sort of weekend, no real plans, kind of overcast, and my Instagram feed was filled with images of doughnuts, making me very hungry and ultimately depressed that I didn’t have doughnuts. I thought about going out to actually get some, but again–lazy/overcast. For half a minute I thought about raising and frying my own, but that’s way too opposite of lazy. So I dug a little recipe out of my brain file that absolutely satiated the doughnut craving, and I never even had to put in my contacts.

As it happens, this recipe also offers even more of a wow factor than doughnuts, which is saying quite a lot. A crunchy, sugary, doughnut-esque exterior is in play here, but so is the kind of soft, pillowy, eggy interior that begs to be pulled apart with your thumb and forefinger in a cotton candy-like way. And if the batter takes you longer than 60 seconds to make, you’re doing it wrong. I feel like this sort of revelation could be of use to the greater good, especially on a weekend where we really should turn it out in the kitchen for our favorite moms. Serve them to her in a quiet room with plenty of hot coffee and/or champagne, helllloooo) and her favorite magazines. She’s more than worth it.

Sugar and Spice Popovers
Adapted from David Lebovitz and Maida Heatter

This recipe comes from the wonderful David Lebovitz, who riffed on a classic popover recipe from beloved dessert goddess Maida Heatter. You can read a lovely article about how this recipe came to be here, and see David’s post about the recipe here. I’m a believer in preheating my popover pan, so I’ve added those instructions to this version of the recipe. You could also use a regular muffin tin; the resulting popovers will be smaller and won’t “pop” as much–they will still taste great, though.

Here we’re just using a simple cinnamon sugar, but it’s also incredible to infuse sugar with star anise, vanilla bean, and nutmeg in addition to the cinnamon, and really knock this one out of the park. I like to use organic sugar because it’s slightly coarser than regular white granulated, so it gives a little extra crunch and sparkle. 

Makes 6 large popovers

For the batter:

2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (8 ounces/224 grams) whole milk (low-fat works, too)
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces/128 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for greasing the pan

For finishing the popovers:

2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces/133 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I love Vietnamese cinnamon)
1/4 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Set a rack to the center of the oven, and place a 6-cup nonstick popover pan in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In the pitcher of a blender, combine the melted butter, eggs, milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Blend well. Add the flour to the blender and blend for just about 15 seconds or so, until the batter is smooth.

Remove the hot popover pan from the oven. Cut the additional tablespoon of butter into 6 slivers, and place in each of the 6 wells. Use a pastry brush to coat the inside of the wells with butter.

Divide the batter among the popover wells, filling each about two-thirds full.

Bake until a deep golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. (Better to err on the side of more doneness so that the popovers don’t collapse upon cooling.)

Let the popovers cool for just a moment until you can handle them, then remove them from the pan and set them on a cooling rack.

To coat the popovers, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Working one popover at a time, use a pastry brush to lightly but thoroughly coat each popover with melted butter, then immediately dredge them in the spiced sugar. Serve as soon as possible.

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