The first time I had popovers was over a decade ago in a small restaurant in Maine. Since then, I have been hooked. Light and airy, these baked “rolls” can be eaten with breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert. The delicate hollow center is the perfect forum for flavored butters, homemade jams, eggs, meats, ice cream, and other ingredients you see fit. Bake up a batch of popovers and you, too, will be addicted.
How to make perfect popovers
1. Don’t touch
To get the perfect rise and the lovely hollow center, do not disturb the popovers while they are baking in the oven. As tempting as it may be, do not open the door until they are done. If you need to look at your popovers, simply turn the oven light on. Opening the oven door can cause them to collapse, essentially ruining your desired results.
2. Beat lightly
To keep your popovers light and airy, beat only until all the ingredients are incorporated and until the batter has no lumps. That’s it, do not continue to beat.
3. Keep batter at room temperature
Popovers will rise better if the batter is at room temperature. You can easily achieve this by starting with room temperature eggs and milk.
4. Lower the Oven Rack
Because the popovers do puff up a good deal, keep the oven rack low so the tops do not burn.
5. Use a popover pan
Ideally, a specific popover pan is the best tool for making popovers. Popover pans look like muffin tins but feature deep, tapered cups that are set apart to promote air circulation and efficient baking. A regular 12-cup muffin tin can be used, but only fill the cups half full because the batter will spill over as it rises.
6. Let the popovers rise to the occasion
Follow popover recipe directions, but leave popovers in the oven until each one is golden and crusty on top. If they aren’t sufficiently baked, they can collapse after you remove them.
7. Add flavorful ingredients
Plain popovers are quite delicious but adding flavorful ingredients gives near countless ways to enjoy these light, airy treats. A popular addition to popover batter is grated cheese — cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, American, Parmesan, and other cheeses that are easy to grate and melt. You can also add herbs and spices. Regardless of the additional ingredients, add only a modest amount so the popover batter isn’t weighed down and can puff up.
8. Serve hot
The classic way to serve popovers is piping hot with butter or jam. Flavored butters are especially good, as are peanut butter, honey and maple syrup.
9. Be creative
Popovers are quite versatile and can be eaten essentially at any meal. They can mop up the juices of a meat dinner or accompany soup or salad. They can be split and transformed into a yummy eggs benedict. They make a sturdy — but light — base for ice cream sundaes, fruit compotes or fresh fruit. They can also be eaten simply with almond butter and jam. Once you start making popovers, you will find a host of ways to eat them.