Popovers--an Amazing Roll that Puffs Up Like a Balloon (Also Known as Yorkshire Pudding)
Popovers are a delicious hollow roll that towers to a majestic height. They rely on eggs for leaven, and the large proportion of eggs in the batter gives them a marvelous flavor.
When my children were young, popovers were a favorite for weekend breakfasts or after-school snacks, always served slathered with lots of butter. Kids love the way they poof up like balloons in the oven—turning crispy on the outside and moist and eggy on the inside.
Popovers are one of those wonderful recipes that will allow you to almost effortlessly astound your friends with your cooking abilities. They are great served on movie nights and to study groups.
Popovers are a treat that must be made at home and served hot out of the oven. They are not available from bakeries because these tall, hollow rolls quickly deflate when they cool.
There is no need to run out and buy a special popover pan—although various kinds are available. Popovers can be baked in a muffin pan, or even in ceramic coffee mugs. They don’t “pop” quite as high in a muffin pan, but I’ve seen some towering specimens that were baked in coffee mugs.
Many recipes are intended for making a half-dozen, since most popover pans have only six cups. My opinion on this: Unless you are only cooking for one or two people, six is not enough.
I usually serve popovers as a standalone treat or for breakfast. But "popovers" is really just the US name for Britain's famed Yorkshire Pudding--a dinner item to accompany meats.
This recipe is intended for making a dozen popovers in the family’s 12-cup muffin pan. Halve the recipe if you only want to make six.
2 cups milk
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter or grease thepan and put it in the oven to heat while you mix up the batter.
Beat the eggs slightly and add milk. Then add flour and salt. Beat vigorously for two minutes. (It’s easiest to do this with an electric mixer, at medium speed.) Pour the batter into the hot muffin pan (or the container of your choice), filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake for about 30 minutes.
Depending on your oven—and how you like your popovers—you may find that you prefer to bake them for a slightly shorter time. (I personally prefer them very moist and not too brown—so I consider mine to be done after 20-25 minutes.) Have a peek at them after about 20 minutes and decide for yourself.
Some people like to cut a tiny slit in the sides of popovers, to allow steam to escape. The thinking on this is that it will keep them from deflating too quickly. Actually, nothing keeps them from deflating. If there were a way to achieve this, popovers would be sold in bakeries and served in restaurants—and would make these bakeries and restaurants famous.
I have never had a problem with popovers failing to “pop”—except for when I put baking stones in the oven and left them there for a bread-baking project. I was very surprised by the popover failure after baking them successfully for 20 years. So I took the baking stones out of the oven, and I was once again a success in the popover department.
Yet some people seem to find popovers to be tricky. One common suggestion is that both the eggs and milk used in the recipe should be room temperature, but I never found this necessary.
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