Popovers are economical to make because they contain very few ingredients and those are in limited amounts. They puff up because of the steam released in the hot oven instead of relying on a leavening agent. Popovers are hollow on the inside and have a lovely crisp golden brown crust. There are many flavor variations possible..
Popovers can be eaten with butter, jams and jellies. They are perfect substitutes for pastry shells to serve creamed chicken or other creamed dishes in. Plain popovers can be used to create quick deserts by filling the hollow shells with ice cream, stewed and thickened fruit or with a cornstarch pudding right before serving. Popovers can be served instead of rolls or other breads at breakfast, lunch or at dinner.
Food historians say popovers were created in the Americas. The popover batter we know today is a variation of Yorkshire pudding or dripping pudding and similar batter puddings that appeared in England during the seventeenth century. Dripping puddings are baked in a pan that has been placed under a roast and collected the fat as it dripped off the meat during roasting.
Settlers from Maine who founded Portland Oregon took the English Yorkshire pudding recipe and baked the batter in individual muffin cups that had been greased with beef or pork fat. They sometimes added garlic and herbs to the batter. The result was called “Portland popover pudding, individual balloons of crusty meat-flavored pastry.”
I have included variations and a method of making popovers using a blender. I seldom use a mixer or a blender, I use a whisk and muscle instead.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, lightly spooned into the cup
- . ½ teaspoon of salt
Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter 6 standard sized custard cups or a standard 12 cup muffin pan. Sit the custard cups on a sheet or jelly roll pan for ease in handling.
Break the eggs into a bowl and beat with a mixer for about 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and beat at medium speed for another minute. Do not over beat. Pour the batter into the custard cups, about half full. Fill muffin cups half full if you use a muffin pan.
Bake at 450 degrees F. for 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the popovers are a golden brown. About 3 minutes before the popovers are done quickly cut a 1 inch slit in the side of the top of each to allow steam to escape. Remove at once from the cups or the bottoms will become soft.
Popovers can be made ahead and reheated. To reheat put in a shallow pan and set in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 12 minutes. They can be frozen, thawed and then reheated in the oven.
Popovers in a blender
Use the above recipe and blend eggs for 15 seconds or until foamy. Add remaining ingredients. Turn blender on and off 3 times. Scrap down the sides each time. Bake as above.
I add 2 tablespoons of melted butter to the recipe.
Some cooks recommend putting the pan or custard cups in the oven for a few minutes before adding the batter. In my opinion it helps create a crisper bottom and side crust.
Cheese popovers – make as above and before baking sprinkle the batter filled cups with ¼ cup of grated cheese. Or you can add crumbled blue cheese or any other soft cheese to the batter before baking. If using cheddar cheese add a ¼ teaspoon of dry mustard to the batter.
Herb popovers – follow the above recipe adding 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning to the batter. Use with creamed chicken. You can add ½ teaspoon ground thyme to the batter and serve the popovers with creamed seafood, such as lobster, salmon or tuna.
Italian – add a heaping teaspoon of Italian seasoning and some garlic powder to the batter. Good with any pasta dish.
Savory popovers – add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and some minced onion or minced green onion. Chives can also be added.
Bacon popovers – bacon fried crisp can be stirred into the batter before baking. Omit butter. Cheese and onions are good with the bacon. Serve for breakfast or brunch.