Why does baking bread intimidate so many cooks? Is it fiddling with the yeast? The kneading and wrestling with the dough? The hours of rising time? Or the uncertainty that follows as you finally slip a loaf into the oven with a soft prayer that the culinary gods will bless your handiwork?
This popover recipe alleviates all fear. It has only five ingredients—-flour, milk, butter, salt, and eggs! No kneading; no rising. When baked the batter puffs up, producing light, airy muffins. When cooked you can stuff the air pockets with tuna salad, fruit and whipped cream, or serve with butter and jam.
The Film Version
Cyndy and I do a spoof on a Julia Child cooking episode.
What Makes ’em Rise?
Without yeast or baking powder, what causes the popovers to inflate like little balloons? It’s the steam that builds inside the thin walls of the batter. But, if under-cooked, the steam trapped inside the popovers can cause them to collapse.
Cook at 400 degree for 35-40 minutes, trying mightily to resist opening the oven sooner. Popovers can be baked in an ordinary muffin pan. But a dedicated popover tin with deep, narrow cups and straight sides forces the tops upward more dramatically. I’ve used both with good results. Be sure to use a warm, lightly greased tin and fill the cups only half way. The popovers will be soft, almost custard like on the inside; the outside, golden brown and crusty.
Culinary Deja Vu
If the taste and look is familiar, then maybe you’ve had the British version. Popovers are the American riff on Yorkshire Pudding. The ingredients are the same, but the cooking method differs. Popovers go into muffin tins to bake (or their own special tin), and the Brits cook theirs in the drippings from roast beef.
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk, slightly warm
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease and flour six 6-ounce custard cups or muffin tin.
- In a medium bowl beat eggs slightly, Beat in flour, milk and salt until just smooth; being careful not to over beat. Fill custard cups 1/2 full.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes more. Immediately remove from cups and serve piping hot.