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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Almost The World's Best Popovers



Why almost? Well, first the pros:
1. They are HUGE
2. The crust is nice and golden and crispy
3. The inside is moist, tender yet chewy, and custardy

What could make them better?
1. A sprinkling of cheese on top
2. Slightly less salt
3. We can live with huge, but we will live for ginormous (maybe turn the heat up to 500 next time)

After seeing Tyler Florence's favorite appetizer, giant cheese popovers, we were bitten by the popover bug and just needed to try making some. The guy on TV filled his custard cups all the way to the brim for maximum height, so we tried that but ran out of batter so we made four normal popovers, a midget, and an invisible one.

The key, according to Cooks Illustrated, is to start the popovers baking in a preheated pan with a little bit of hot oil in the bottom. The oven must be very hot initially - 450 degrees, and the pan should be set at the lowest possible rack to allow for maximum rise without burning the top. Later the temperature is turned down to avoid burning the top. In addition, the batter should be whisked until smooth to ensure ample gluten development, and then allowed to rest for 30 minutes for the gluten to relax and loosen, enabling the internal air pocket to push the doughy structure to greater heights. If you are still awake to hear this, they were delicious!


special equipment: 1 popover pan

1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

5 teaspoons vegetable oil

In a blender add the first four ingredients putting the liquid at the bottom. Blend on a low speed until smooth, about 15 seconds. Add melted butter and blend for an additional few seconds. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes before baking popovers.

While the batter is resting, 1 teaspoon oil to each cup and put the pan in the 475 degree oven. Remove the hot pan and evenly divide the batter among the five cups. Immediately return the filled pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 475 F. Do not open the oven during these first 20 minutes. Rotate the pan and reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until popovers are nicely browned.

Enjoy hot out of the oven with jam, sweetened condensed milk thinned with soymilk, pesto, or pastry cream.

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