Monday, April 19, 2010


I never made a popover until I was well into my third or fourth year of college. I don't recall my mother, a wonderful and adventurous cook, making them.  My mother made Yorkshire Pudding with Roast Beef.  She loved it. But never a popover to be seen.  Perhaps it didn't enter her culinary psyche - Yorkshire Pudding.  Popovers.  Yorkshire Pudding.  Popovers...  the connection was never made. No grandmothers or maiden aunts pulled a pan of these from the oven on a cold winter morning -- or any other morning I can recall. They pulled many other wonderful baked delights from the oven on a cold morning, but not popovers... at least not in my experience.

While working my way through college, I held down two jobs:  Student Library Assistant (to the Director, no less) and Dark Room Teaching Assistant.  Both positions would serve me later in life -- both as  precursors to my life's vocational calling and feeding my culinary bent.  While I was always interested in cooking, having come from a long line of wonderful cooks on both sides of my family, it was at this library that I acquired the recipe for Betty's Popovers. 

Betty was a staff person with whom I worked on occasion. She was a pretty good hand in the kitchen and kept bragging about her popovers.  While we were not exactly friends she reveled in the occasional opportunity to teach upstart me a thing or two about oven- popped and crisped pudding construction. She gave me a hard time, most of the time. But the one nice thing she gave me I will always treasure -- she gave me her popover recipe.

The thin sheet of note paper on which she inscribed her foolproof popover recipe is dog-eared and yellow with age, spattered with countless drops of batter, oil, egg yolk.  It has been used many times for many years.  Not once has it ever disappointed.  This Sunday morning's effort was no exception.  Easy to whip up, light, crispy golden brown, moist, and most importantly, popped.  Not requiring the often requisite expensive popover pan to insure success -- a large or small muffin pan will do nicely.  They are the best.  Never failing.  Always popping! And, always a hit with the culinary consumers. And they beat the heck out of the usual eggs and toast.  Eggie and toasty all in one savory little crisp package!

Thanks Betty...

Betty's Popovers

Makes six large or 10-12 small popovers

Preheat oven to 425 F degrees
Thoroughly grease 1 large or 1 small muffin pan or 1 large popover pan (whatever you have)

With an electric mixer or wire whisk, whip together until well incorporated:
3 Tbs. oil (a light oil like safflower, canola, or corn works best here)
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup milk (any type you have on hand is fine)

Measure together and mix with wet ingredients until well blended:
1 cup flour (up to 1-1/2 depending on how you measure)
a dash of salt
Set aside to rest for 15 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate properly.

Place pan on center rack in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for 30 minutes more.  

Remove from oven and turn out.  Serve immediately with butter and jam of your choice, or eat plain.  They stand alone well.

If you wish to hold for up to 30 minutes: with a knife pierce the side of each popover to allow steam to escape and hold in pans in a warm oven until ready to serve.

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