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Popovers


DanCole42
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Made popovers for the first time last night. They stuck to the muffin tin like nobody's business. However, the tops I salvaged were delicious.

Any guesses as to what I did wrong?

I put about two or three teaspoons in the bottom of every muffin tin hole (after preheating the tins).

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Made popovers for the first time last night. They stuck to the muffin tin like nobody's business. However, the tops I salvaged were delicious.

Any guesses as to what I did wrong?

I put about two or three teaspoons in the bottom of every muffin tin hole (after preheating the tins).

Don't preheat the tins! Butter the cups, then fill them half-way. Start in a cold oven set to 450 for 15 minutes, the reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

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I have been making popovers forever, using the original Moosewood cookbook which advises pre-heating oven, if not the tins.

What you have to do is melt a lot of butter and pour it in the tin, painting each cup and the flat surface around the rim generously, working quickly so butter's still warm.

Then with equivalent speed, pour in the cold, thin batter (2/3 way up) and pop the tray into the hot oven. Use metal, not that silicon stuff since you are after golden crispy bits in each creamy, preserve-filled bite.

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I made a batch once in which I accidentally used a crêpe ratio of butter instead of a popover proportion. Result? Fried in place like awful cupcakes before the tops got to pop. A similar problem has occurred when I've used too much of the pan drippings in making Yorkshire puddings. Meanwhile, using the nonstick tins, I find that you really don't need more than a tablespoon of fat per two eggs in the batter, and a minimal coating on the cups themselves. My conclusion is that too much fat is much more problematic than too little.

The recipes that call for two baking temperatures are also hard to control, as ovens vary in how quickly they lose heat. Ina Garten's recipe has been the most reliable I've used; she bakes them at a steady 400 F, and preheats the greased tins for several minutes. Check the batter viscosity and adjust if it needs a tiny bit of thinning to achieve a heavy cream consistency; the thicker batter won't pop as substantially (yes, I recently ran a tray with progressively thinner batters from one end to the other to see how it would affect their height). Use bread flour (especially in the South, where all-purpose turns out to be softer than normal to accommodate biscuit makers), and let the batter rest a bit so the gluten can develop more of an interior network instead of one big steamy void.

The danger of huge and deliciously eggy popovers, IMHO, is that they encourage gratuitous consumption of salmon mousse with sour cream and dill. Good thing there wasn't a masonry trowel in the kitchen, or I'd have packed it in there reeeeeeeally well.

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You have me intrigued. I've never put butter in the batter, just eggs, milk, flour, and salt.

Meanwhile, using the nonstick tins, I find that you really don't need more than a tablespoon of fat per two eggs in the batter, and a minimal coating on the cups themselves. My conclusion is that too much fat is much more problematic than too little.

The recipes that call for two baking temperatures are also hard to control, as ovens vary in how quickly they lose heat.

Ovens also vary in how quickly they come up to temperature, so I don't understand the reasoning behind the "start in a cold oven" direction. Not to mention that popovers rise from the steam, so wouldn't it make sense to generate a huge amount of steam right away, then dry them out (like you would with puff pastry)? I think a side-by-side experiment is in order here.

Last week I greased the popover pans with vegetable shortening, filled them 2/3s full, put in a hot oven for 20 minutes, then turned the heat down for 20 minutes, and they came out perfectly. Well, almost perfectly. I'm still scratching my head over why 2 pans released with no trouble at all, and the third stuck like crazy. I'm quite sure I didn't forget to grease it.

eta: check out this site if you haven't already.

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I've been using Ina's recipe with success. Made them last night actually. I painted the nonstick popover pan with butter, poured in the batter (which filled up to more than the halfway mark she suggested), and let them cook for 30 min. at 425. Her recipe does include a little butter (1.5 Tbs, I think), but the added fat hasn't caused any problems.

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Made popovers last night and tried an experiment: mixed the batter very briefly, as for pancakes, leaving some lumps of flour in.  Poured half the batter into the greased tins (left side in photo), then whisked the heck out of the remaining batter until it was totally smooth (right side in photo).  The smooth batter produced a popover about a third again as high as the lumpy-batter popovers, with a drier interior; the lumpy batter produced a sad slumped-over popover that was a little too moist inside.

post-554-0-13806900-1387375184_thumb.jpg

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I saw an ATK episode where they made popovers.  They took a bamboo skewer and once the top was crusted, they poked a hole down into the center to let the steam escape so the interior could dry out.  Maybe worth another experiment?

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Last night's experiment: hot oven start vs. cold oven start.  The first pic shows popovers that were baked at 425 for 20 minutes, then 350 for 20 minutes.  The second pic shows popovers that went into a cold oven that was then turned to 450; after 20 minutes he temp was reduced to 350.  Both sets were from the same batter and baked at the same time.

As you can see the cold oven popovers rose almost the same amount.  However, they were very wet inside, almost doughy (but not unpleasantly so), and as the picture shows not well browned.  The hot oven popovers were damn near perfect.  I don't think they need to have holes poked in them.

The only reason I can think of to justify the cold oven method is if you're trying to conserve every last watt of energy to keep the Pepco bills low.

post-554-0-50164900-1387460338_thumb.jpg

post-554-0-33627400-1387460350_thumb.jpg

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