Isn’t it amazing how a little bit of batter can turn into something many times its original size after only a few minutes in a hot oven? Popovers are perfect with the fresh fruit jams that so many of us are making now because the eggy interior holds onto the the fruit fillings and the crust can wrap around a generous spoonful of jam and keep it from falling out. I’ve made popovers for years and have always used a recipe in my McCall’s cookbook that I received as a shower gift before I got married. It’s a basic popover recipe that always turns out like it’s supposed to so I never questioned that there might be something better out there until I ran across this recipe in the FoodDay section of the Portland Oregonian.
The ingredients in this recipe are the same but the quantities differ greatly from my old recipe and the baking procedure bears no resemblance. I’m usually game for something new and was intrigued by the claim that these popovers are mile high and the best I will ever eat.
Popovers are steam leavened and the key is to get the batter hot fast so steam is produced to inflate it into balloon like structures before a top crust is formed. A pizza stone is heated in a hot oven, the empty pan is heated on the hot pizza stone, ingredients are warmed or at room temperature so the batter builds up steam fast and puffs to great heights.
Mile High Popovers…from ” Bakewise” by Shirley Corriher
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-3/4 cups bread flour
1/3 cup whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
Place the 5 eggs in a bowl of very hot tap water to warm. After about 10 minutes drain and cover again with very hot tap water.
In a heavy saucepan, warm the milk until it feels warm to the touch. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl (if you have a large measuring cup with a spout, that is great for pouring the batter later). With a fork or whisk, beat in the milk a little at a time to prevent forming lumps. Allow flour/milk mixture to stand at room temperature for at least an hour.
About 30 minutes before you bake the popovers arrange a shelf in the lower third of the oven with a baking stone on it and preheat the over to 475 degrees. If you think your oven is low, turn it to 500 degrees. It is important that the oven be very hot. After the flour mixture has stood for at least an hour, place the popover pan in the oven on the stone to heat.
Separate 3 eggs, saving the whites and discarding or saving the yolks. Beat the 2 whole eggs and 3 egg whites together, and then beat the egg mixture into the flour mixture.
Heat the cream almost to a boil. Sprinkle salt over the batter and whisk in the hot cream.
Pull the popover pan out of the oven. Place the pan over the sink. Spray one cup of the popover pan well with nonstick cooking spray and immediately pour batter into that cup, filling about three-quarters full. This 6-cup batch of filling is exactly enough for 6 cups. Repeat spraying and then filling each cup. Place the popover pan on the hot stone and bake for 9 minutes. DO NOT open the oven. Turn down the heat to 425 degrees and bake for 7 minutes more. DO NOT open the oven. Turn down the heat to 325 degrees, and leave the popovers in 30 minutes more to dry them out.
Dump popovers out on a rack to cool briefly. Serve immediately with good butter and preserves. You can make these several hours ahead and rewarm in a 300 degree oven for 5 minutes. When they are completely cool you can seal them in a heavy freezer zip-top bag and freeze.
This recipe is more complicated than my old standby because of the fussing with ingredients and the need to watch oven times, but it was fun to make and, although my popovers aren’t a mile high, they did reach almost 6 inches tall when they just came out of the oven. I think that’s pretty impressive.
This popover has more substance than my old recipe and holds up well to butter and jam. A friend fills popovers with a chicken a la king type of filling and I think I’m going to try her way next time I bake them. There are lots of possibilities here. I can picture a scoop of scrambled eggs inside a warm popover. Dungeness crab and sauteed mushrooms perhaps, or warm berries and ice cream. I hope you will give this recipe a try, and then let me know how you’ve served them.
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