popover (aka Yorkshire pudding minus the roast)

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original incarnation as Yorkshire pudding and usually baked right under the roast to catch the dripping fat, as part of the English Sunday roast; baked with whole sausages laying in the batter, it's a Toad-in-the-hole. this recipe can also be used for Dutch baby pancakes.

from King Arthur Flour's website and listed as a guaranteed, no-fail recipe but nothing is guaranteed when it comes to baked goods. main thing to remember is that the ingredients should all be at room temperature.

yields: 12 popovers
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 c (12 oz) milk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c (6 1/4 oz) all-purpose unbleached flour
3 tbsp (1 1/2 oz) melted butter
special equipment
12-cup (about 2 1/2" wide x 1 1/2" deep) metal muffin tin, not silicone
1. preheat the oven to 450°F. position a rack on a lower shelf. the top of the fully risen popovers should be about midway up the oven. what you don't want is for the tops of the popping popovers to be too close to the top of the oven, as they'll burn (popovers can pop to twice their height, just so you know).
2. grease the pan thoroughly, covering the area between the cups as well as the cups themselves. make sure the oven is up to temperature before you begin to make the popover batter.
3. use a wire whisk to beat together the eggs, milk and salt. whisk till the egg and milk are well combined, with no streaks of yolk showing.
4. add the flour all at once, and beat with a wire whisk till frothy; there shouldn't be any large lumps in the batter, but smaller lumps are OK.
5. stir in the melted butter, combining quickly.
6. pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling them about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
7. bake the popovers for 20 minutes without opening the oven door.
8. reduce the heat to 350°F (again without opening the door), and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until they're a deep, golden brown.
many family recipes specifically recommend using a cast-iron popover pan and also pre-heating the pan. believe pre-heating cast-iron pan facilitates the release of popover from the pan and also creates the crispy exterior. yumm!

my darker non-stick muffin tin pans created a darker popover so perhaps adjust temperature, next time. will experiment with greased ramekins placed in a cookie sheet to see how that works out.

very similar to a choux pastry, but less eggs and even less butter. some recipes don't use any butter, just for greasing. both batters utilize the power of steam to rise so it's good to incorporate air but not agitate the gluten which is the wrong texture for this delicate batter. small lumps are okay. that's why it's best to whisk the wet ingredients together, first, before adding the flour.

also have the added step of reducing the oven to a lower temperature to ensure the crust is hard enough to withstand deflating tendencies.

make a small prick in the side of each popover to provide an escape route for the steam; this will further ensure that your popovers will remain standing proud. place back into turned-off, warm oven to crisp the shell further...if it doesn't, still pretty damn good.

if you're feeling extra geeky and want some food science behind this recipe, check out King Arthur's post on their blog, Going-for-the-guarantee popovers or the uber-geeky dissertation detailing the hows and whys if you really want to know how to make the perfect popovers.
Meal   BrunchDish   Bread
Cooking Method   BakedPrep Time   less than 15 minutes
Cooking Time   45 minutes 
Features   Low-Sodium, Vegetarian

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