My wife and I used to have a naughty routine. (Get your minds out of the gutter.) We would toss our diets aside on Friday mornings for a popover at Pie in the Sky in Woods Hole.
But Pie has taken the winter off and, well, Fridays haven’t been this light, flaky and elegant since.
And then came the January/February issue of Cook’s Illustrated, and there, on page 15, was a little piece of Pie in the Sky staring at us from the page. That page was bookmarked, and we didn’t read any more. It was time to give it a try.
They seemed very simple: a little bread flour, salt, 11/2 cups of 2 percent or low-fat milk heated to 110° to 120° degrees, 3 large eggs and salted butter. That’s all.
You can use muffin cans, and that’s what we did to get started: see photography. We got a decent lift, and they were delicious, especially fresh out of the oven.
It was Saturday night, and with
many of our friends and family in their own homes sipping wine and cocktails, I was able to make fun of them with a photo and the line, “I wish you could popover.”
Anyone who knows me well knows that I love a good pun. This one worked on many levels. What I wouldn’t give popover to a friend’s house with half a dozen of these gems, but alas, the pandemic keeps us all in our places.
My social media had a lot of play and, honestly, a fair amount of jealousy. (I think that’s why Connie Berry assigned me this.)
Although the popovers were good, we wondered if we could make them even better. We are always those who play with recipes.
We are lucky enough to live near the LeRoux Kitchen store in Falmouth, where we found a real popover pan. This time my wife used the full amount of liquid milk and added a tablespoon of powdered milk for a more chewy texture (look, we’re playing again) and followed the other instructions as she did the first time. But the popover can made all the difference. As you can see in that photo, they climbed much higher than in the muffin cans.
That increase made all the difference in texture and taste. The outside was still scaly with a bit of crunch, while the inside was a velvety custard that brought us back to those Friday mornings in the hole.
We had a hot one out of the oven, and
later a second one made the perfect complement to our Sunday feast of a medium cooked filet mignon, a baked sweet potato and a salad. The next morning, we polish them with a strawberry jam stain for breakfast. (They are versatile.)
We can’t wait to make them again on Friday for our socially distanced and quarantined Christmas dinner. We wish you a Merry Christmas, and sometime this New Year an opportunity to visit.
Popovers (via Cook’s Illustrated
) 11/4 cups bread flour 3/
4 teaspoon table salt 11/2 cups 2 percent or low-fat milk, heated to 110° to 120° (mixing some powdered milk is optional) 3 large eggs
Set the oven rack to the
medium position and preheat the oven to 400°. While the recipe works on a can of muffins, a six-cup popover pan is preferred. My wife says you have to fill the cups about three-quarters to fill them. (They’ll be straighter if they’re three-quarters, but she likes the character who creates the full cup.) Do not open the oven for the first 30 minutes of cooking.
Lightly spray the cups with vegetable oil spray and use a paper towel to clean them.
Beat the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the milk and eggs, and whisk until completely soft (some lumps are fine). Distribute in the cups. Bake until popovers are raised and golden all over, about 40 to 45 minutes. Serve hot with salted butter.