Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sort-of Souffle Tuesday: Pops rather than Puffs

Making good-enough popovers is simplicity itself, but consistently producing near-perfect popovers -- crisp on the outside, moist and tender within and, of course, puffed both high and wide -- is a goal I've found maddeningly elusive.
I've tried various cookware -- muffin tins, ceramic ramekins, special iron popover pans --and both hot and cold oven starts. Based on suggestions in the Neiman-Marcus cookbook, I've warmed the milk and also let the batter rest. Sometimes this seemed to help and then another batch would disappoint.
Finally, after a morning of trying different recipes one after the other and actually making some, uh, margin notes after each batch, I think I've cracked the code.
The baking temperatures and times I'm now using come from a sweet little tome I recently unearthed from my attic stash: "Blueberry Hill Cookbook" by Elsie Masterton.
Written in the 1950s and 60s, Masterton's books are a delightful read. The first, "Nothing Whatever to Do," chronicles her becoming a cook "through sheer necessity." The Vermont inn she and her husband bought and planned to operate as a ski lodge was in an area not blessed with sufficient snow. In desperation they turned it into a summer getaway, promising, in a small Saturday Review ad, "Lucullan food."

My attic carton yielded both "Blueberry Hill Cookbook" and "Blueberry Hill Menu Cookbook" but not "Nothing Whatever to Do," so I'm off to the on-line used book stores.
And from now on, this is my popover procedure:

Truly Impressive Popovers
(adapted from "Blueberry Hill Cookbook" by Elsie Masterton)

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/4 cups milk

Pre-heat oven to 425-degrees.
Whisk the eggs; add flour, salt, melted butter and milk and whisk well. Let batter rest for 30 minutes or so.
Generously grease a muffin tin. (Don't cheat on this.) Place the tin in the hot oven until it is quite hot, and then quickly fill each section about half full. (The batter probably won't fill all twelve spaces).
Bake for 15 minutes, without opening the oven door. Reduce heat to 350-degrees and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes, depending on how moist you like your popover interiors.
Remove popovers from the tin immediately. Left to cool in the pan they tend to stick.
Makes 10-11 popovers.


Lydia said...

Good popovers are an art, and I've never been able to master it. Will try this recipe, as yours look really delicious.

lobstersquad said...

I keep clipping out recipes for popovers, but never dare make them. I´ve never had one, so I´m not sure I´d know if I was getting anywhere near where I should. The Blueberry Hill cookbook looks great 8the popovers too)

katiez said...

I've been making popovers so often for so long - and I always have thought they were the easiest thing in the world - never a problem. I must have lucked on to the perfect recipe first time out. I do my oven temp and timing the same but always use a cold pan, my ingredients are a 2:1:1 - 1 C milk, 1 cup flour and 2 eggs - nothing else...maybe a pinch of salt. The key is do NOT whisk well - whisk eggs well, then add flour and milk and only whisk to get it mostly combined, do NOT get all the lumps out. Ladle and bake immediately. They're perfect everytime. Let me know if you try them! And an easy recipe to double!

Anonymous said...

agree with katiez...whisk flour & milk ONLY to incorporate. This is so similar to my popover recipe we found with the pan in our lake house. We've been making them ever since. Also as you say, don't skimp on the greasing the tins. I don't use spray for that. I use oil. My favorite ingredient: thyme. That photo looks good enough to dive into.

Casey said...

I honor katie and kevin in their minimal mixing. I shall continue to mix well and let rest.
May all our popovers continue to soar.

Casey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betty C. said...

Oh, I used to make popovers all the time! I think they were from a Winnie-the-Pooh cookbook and called Pooh's popovers. They always seemed pretty easy to me...

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