Monday, August 20, 2012

Baking with Julia: Popovers

There's not a heck of a lot to say about these popovers... they were both crispy and custardy, light and airy and ridiculously easy to make. Before today, I had never had popovers... I'd heard of them, but always imagined they were something you would be served when having Sunday dinner at someone's grandmother's house. ;)

Popovers with butter and marmalade

However, while I say they were ridiculously easy to make, they didn't come out perfectly the first time around...

I had looked at a few different recipes (the Baking with Julia one here and here, as well as David Lebovitz' one here and one from The Kitchn here) and they all gave slightly different instructions in terms of baking time and temperature... hmm,  I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Did that mean I had wiggle room, or that if I varied a little from the recipe, I would get drastically different results? So, finally I prepped the muffin tin and poured in the batter as directed, and I aimed for the middle of the three recipes, which happened to be the BwJ recommended temp of 425 F. I put the tin in and set the timer for 20 minutes at which point I would check and see where we were.

Never having had popovers, I didn't really know what 'done' looked like.... but after 20 minutes, the popovers were sky high and quite browned on top... that seemed to be what I was going for, yeah? The recipe said to then drop the temp and cook them another 20(ish) minutes... I was skeptical. I dropped the temp and left them a few more minutes, but when I went back to check, I chickened out and pulled them.

A quick poke with a knife into the side of each kept them from collapsing, though I didn't really need to bother because when I went to un-mould them, things started to go downhill. Out of the entire half-batch, I only had one of the popovers come out intact... the rest of them ripped and crumbled as I tried to finagle them out of the muffin tin. *sigh* They tasted fine, but a pile of popover bits and pieces wasn't very presentable.

But, I still had half the batter left, so I thoroughly greased the pan again and prepared for another attempt. I reset the temp on the oven  to 425 and gently put them in, this time setting the timer for 15 minutes and then tiptoed into the other room. I had no clue how delicate these things were, but I had read multiple warnings that, like a souffle, you dare not open the oven during the first part of the baking time or else they would fail catastrophically. Or that's what it sounded like, anyway. :)

After about 10 minutes, I hear the creeeeeeeaaaaak of the oven door opening........ silence................ then the creak of the oven door closing. I sit bolt upright on the couch and yell "Did you just open the oven?!?!?!" B had been walking through the kitchen and, not realizing I'd done the popovers in two batches, had thought I'd left the oven on and opened it to see if it was empty. I appreciated the concern, but his thoughtfulness could not have come at a worse time. I imagined pitifully deflated popovers, drooped mournfully over the sides of the muffin pan. I didn't dare open the door again, so waited for the buzzer to go and then rushed to check the damage.

Huh. They looked fine. If anything, these ones were even higher than the last! Ok, so not so delicate after all :) They were lighter brown than the first batch, but that's what I was hoping for. I wanted a lighter golden brown and a more custard-y interior. This time, having no need to empty the tin and put it back in the oven (I only have one muffin tin), I let them cool slightly before attempting to take them out. That little rest seemed to make the difference, as they were very easy to get out of the tin this time.

This time, they were snapped up and eaten in minutes flat, slathered in butter and homemade marmalade. They were delightful, and it's good to know they are so easy to whip up should the craving ever strike again... not sure it will, but it's a good recipe to have in your arsenal. :)

8 comments:

  1. Cute post. I loved the "Did you open the oven door!?!" yell. It sounds exactly like something I would've done. We know they mean well. I'm glad your popovers turned out well. Mine did, too. I really like this recipe.

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  2. Whew - sounds like quite the adventure.
    I was making homemade pocky a few weeks ago and was wondering why they were taking so long - The Dude had shut off the oven... He thought he was being helpful...
    Your popovers look very tasty with that dollop of marmalade in the middle

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  3. Wow! I can only imagine your rush of adrenalina when you heard that creeeeeeeaaaaak!
    What a relief to read an happy "buttery and marmeladely" ending!
    We loved them, too.
    I've made some sweet and some cheesy (Grana cheese) adding rosemary and spices...
    This recipe is a winner!

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  4. Wonderful pic! I had the same issues with the time. In the end they work and are so easy.

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  5. I'm glad they finally worked out for you. They look great!

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  6. Hubby walked in as I was baking my popovers--I yelled like there was a fire--DON'T OPEN THE OVEN!
    They turned out delicious.

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  7. Yup, hubbies and other halves. But we wouldn't want to be without them either!

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