Popovers

I have experimented with four recipes for popovers, the "final recipe" listed below is what I use. It is based primarily on a Cook's Illustrated recipe for mini-Yorkshire Puddings, with some changes and additions from a Serious Eats recipe.

Another note - I used to have a terrible time pouring the batter into the popover tins using a pyrex measuring cup with a spout, they're just too drippy. I finally got the idea of using a pancake batter dispenser - one of the ones that look like a large mug with a squeeze handle. When you squeeze the handle it opens a hole in the bottom. Position it over the popover cup and squeeze the handle, the batter flows directly into the cup with no dripping. Works great.

Final Popovers Recipe

This is primarily based on the Cook's Illustrated recipe for individual Yorkshire Puddings (below). The original recipe uses a muffin tin, and since Yorkshire Puddings are a traditional accompaniment to beef rib roasts, it also uses rendered beef fat. Substituting peanut oil for the beef fat is no problem, and the recipe also works fine in popover tins (it's virtually identical to a popover batter).

The Yorkshire Pudding recipe also says to let the batter stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Instead, I've incorporated the instructions from the Serious Eats recipe (farther down) which say the best results / highest rising popovers occur if you make the batter the night before and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator! Take it out a couple hours before using, to bring it up to room temperature. This is really convenient since you can make the batter the night before.

For best results, prepare the batter the night before and refrigerate it; take it out a couple hours before using to bring to room temperature. Work quickly when filling the popover tins with batter, and do not open the oven door during baking. This recipe makes six popovers.

Ingredients

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon peanut oil PLUS
3 more teaspoons peanut oil for the popover tins (divided)

Instructions

1. For best results, make the batter the night before you plan to use it. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Whisk eggs and milk in large bowl until well combined, about 20 seconds. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; whisk quickly until flour is just incorporated and mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Cover batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator two or three hours before using. Or, if needed on the same day, let the batter stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours before using.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

3. Whisk 1 tablespoon of peanut oil into batter until bubbly and smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer batter to 1-quart liquid measuring cup or other pitcher (like I said above, I use a pancake batter dispenser).

3. Measure 1/2 teaspoon of peanut oil into each cup of popover tin. Place the popover tin in oven to heat for 3 minutes (fat may smoke). Working quickly, remove tin from oven, close oven door, and divide batter evenly among popover cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Immediately return popover tin to oven. Bake, without opening oven door, for 20 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until deep golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Remove pan from oven and pierce each popover with skewer to release steam and prevent collapse. Remove popovers from tin and serve immediately.

 

SO, here are the four recipes that I tried before coming up with the above. This first one is basically the one I used, except I swapped out the muffin tins for popover tins, replaced the rendered beef fat with peanut oil, and suggested making it the night before.

Individual Yorkshire Puddings

Prepare the Yorkshire pudding batter after the beef has roasted for 1 hour, then, while the roast rests, add beef fat to the batter and get the puddings into the oven. While the puddings bake, complete the au jus. An accurate oven temperature is key for properly risen puddings, so check your oven with an oven thermometer before making this recipe. Work quickly to fill the muffin tin with batter, and do not open the oven door during baking.

Ingredients

3 large eggs , at room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk , at room temperature
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons beef fat

Instructions

1. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Whisk eggs and milk in large bowl until well combined, about 20 seconds. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; whisk quickly until flour is just incorporated and mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Cover batter with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.

2. After removing roast from oven, whisk 1 tablespoon of beef fat into batter until bubbly and smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer batter to 1-quart liquid measuring cup or other pitcher.

3. Measure 1/2 teaspoon of remaining 2 tablespoons beef fat into each cup of standard muffin pan. When roast is out of oven, increase temperature to 450 degrees and place pan in oven to heat for 3 minutes (fat will smoke). Working quickly, remove pan from oven, close oven door, and divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Immediately return pan to oven. Bake, without opening oven door, for 20 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until deep golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Remove pan from oven and pierce each pudding with skewer to release steam and prevent collapse. Using hands or dinner knife, lift each pudding out of tin and serve immediately.

 

Recipe 2: This is an actual popover recipe from Cook's Illustrated. It is nearly identical to their Yorkshire Pudding recipe (above), except the ingredients are scaled down.

Popovers

Unlike most popover batters, this one is smooth, not lumpy. High heat is crucial to the speedy, high rise of the popovers. When it's time to fill the popover pan with batter, get the pan out of and back into the oven as quickly as possible, making sure to close the oven door while you pour the batter into the pan. Popovers made in a 12-cup muffin tin won't rise nearly as high as those made in a popover pan, but they can still be quite good. See the variation that follows if you can't locate a popover pan.
 

Ingredients
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter , melted
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
 

Instructions

1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk until well combined, about 20 seconds. Whisk the flour and salt in a medium bowl and add to the egg mixture; stir with a wooden spoon or spatula just until the flour is incorporated; the mixture will still be lumpy. Add the melted butter. Whisk until the batter is bubbly and smooth, about 30 seconds. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. While the batter is resting, measure 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil into each cup of the popover pan. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place the popover pan in the oven, and heat to 450 degrees. After the batter has rested, pour it into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or another container with a spout (you will have about 2 cups batter). Working quickly, remove the pan from the oven and distribute the batter evenly among the 6 cups in the pan. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, without opening the oven door. Lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown all over, 15 to 18 minutes more. Invert the pan onto a wire rack to remove the popovers and cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Recipe 3: This one I found on the "Serious Eats" website. Serious Eats is similar to Cook's Illustrated in that they exhaustively test variations of a recipe to get the best result, and it's worth going to the website to read their notes. In this case, the author researched the best way to get popovers that rise really high, and oddly enough he found that the best results were obtained by making the batter the night before and letting it rest in the refrigerator! This does indeed result in very tall popovers, but when I've made the recipe, the popovers did not stay "crisp" and were rather rubbery compared to the Cook's Illustrated version. I'm guessing this is because the Serious Eats recipe has a much higher ratio of eggs to flour. At any rate, I preferred to derive my final recipe from the Cook's Illustrated ingredients but using the Serious Eats recommendation to make it the night before. BTW I copied this verbatum from their website, so the references to "see note above" aren't relevant.

Popovers (Serious Eats)

Ingredients

4 large eggs (200g; 7 ounces)
150g all-purpose flour (5.25 ounces; about 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons)
175g whole milk (6 ounces; 3/4 cup)
25g water (.85 ounces; 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons)
2g kosher salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
100ml beef drippings, lard, shortening, or vegetable oil (about 1/2 cup)

Directions

1. Combine eggs, flour, milk, water, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until a smooth batter is formed. Let batter rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, for best results, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate batter overnight or for up to 3 days. Remove from refrigerator while you preheat the oven.

2. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Divide drippings (or other fat) evenly between two 8-inch cast iron or oven-safe non-stick skillets, two 6-well popover tins (see note above), one 12-well standard muffin tin, or one 24-well mini muffin tin. Preheat in the oven until the fat is smoking hot, about 10 minutes.

3. Transfer the pans or tins to a heat-proof surface (such as an aluminum baking sheet on your stovetop), and divide the batter evenly between every well (or between the two pans if using pans). The wells should be filled between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way (if using pans, they should be filled about 1/4 of the way). Immediately return to oven. Bake until the yorkshire puddings have just about quadrupled in volume, are deep brown all over, crisp to the touch, and sound hollow when tapped. Smaller ones will take about 15 minutes, popover- or skillet-sized ones will take around 25 minutes.

4. Serve immediately, or cool completely, transfer to a zipper-lock freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in a hot toaster oven before serving.

Recipe 4: This is from Martha, for Blue Cheese Popovers. My only comment is that this recipe didn't work at all because the popovers didn't rise at all. However, she says to use mini-muffin tins and I simply used my regular popover tins. It's possible that the recipe really requires the mini-muffin tins to work properly.

Blue Cheese Popovers

Makes 2 dozen

2 large eggs
1 cup milk, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for tins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh thyme

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, flour, salt, and pepper. Whisk until all lumps have disappeared. Whisk in the cheese and thyme. Transfer the batter to an airtight container, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

2. Adjust rack to highest position in oven. Preheat oven to 425. Generously butter two mini muffin tins. Fill each cup to the top with the chilled batter. Bake popovers until golden and puffed, 18 to 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately.