Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pop Over for Some Popovers


We just got back from three days at the beach. And although the weather was perfect and the beach was relaxing, there is nothing worse than South Padre Island beach food. Even the seafood was disappointing. So while everyone else paid top dollar for what promised to be an upscale dining experience, I consistently ordered the basket of greasy fried shrimp or a burger. Ultimately, everyone agreed that my strategy was the better one. You really can't mess up fried shrimp, particularly when lathered in tartar sauce.

So the first morning back in Dallas, I wanted something a little more refined and light. So I decided to make fresh homemade popovers served with sides of homemade strawberry jam and whipped honey. A popover is a light, hollow pastry made from an egg batter similar to that used in making Yorkshire pudding. The popover is believed to have originated in the late 1800s in Portland, Oregon. It was originally a savory dish made with meat drippings, but is now typically served with a simple eggy and buttery flavor. The name "popover" comes from the fact that the batter swells or "pops" over the top of the muffin tin while baking. The recipe I used turned out delightful and was suprisingly (perhaps all based on luck) easy to make.

Ingredients:
Canola Oil
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
6 oz. glass custard cups, a popover pan, or a muffin tin

Directions:
Preheat oven 400 degrees. Coat the bottoms and sides of custard cups, muffin tin, or popover pan cups with Canola Oil. Place all cups on top of a large baking pan. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, and cooking oil. Add flour and salt. Beat with a wire
whisk until mixture is smooth. Fill the greased cups half full.

Place baking pan with cups on top of it in a 400 degrees oven for about 40 minutes or until
very firm.

As soon as you remove from oven, prick the top of each popover with a fork to let the steam
escape. Carefully remove each popover from the pan. Serve warm with butter, jam, honey,
maple syrup, or just powdered suger. Yields 5-6 Enjoy!

Tips:
  • The popovers will rise better if the batter is already at room temperature.
  • Move the oven rack to one of the lower levels so that the tops don't burn.
  • Do not peek inside the oven for at least the first 30 minutes of baking. The popovers rise based on steam and heat. If you let this out of your oven, you may find little lumps of dough rather than success.
  • Leave the popovers in the oven until they are firm.
  • Remember not to feel discouraged. Popovers are picky. They are sensitive to room temperature, humidity, drafts, oven types, and a host of other variables. If conditions aren't perfect, they may refuse to rise. Or they may explode. Be patient if it doesn't work the first time.
Here is another recipe. I haven't tried this one yet. But if you've been to Neiman Marcus's Zodiac Room in Dallas, you know that these popovers are AMAZING!

Neiman Marcus Popovers

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1-3/4 cups milk, warmed to just above room temperature
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix dry ingredients. Beat eggs until light, then add milk and butter. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.

Preheat a popover tin in the oven 5 minutes. Spray heavily with a canola-based spray. Fill cups almost to the top.

Bake 10 minutes at 450, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30 minutes or until deep brown. Yields 6.

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