Have you heard of popovers?

Popovers are similar to England’s Yorkshire pudding. Contrary to what I grew up believing, “pudding” refers to a whole world of culinary experiences beyond the custardy and sugary variety that comes in flavors like chocolate or vanilla or banana. In the case of Yorkshire pudding, we’re talking about an eggy, puffy roll that is traditionally served with gravy and made using the fat or drippings from that day’s meat.

Because it’s the 21st century, you can make popovers with butter or vegetable oil, and since they’re often served with jams and cream and butter, it works out. They’re freakin’ delicious.

King Arthur Flour has a recipe for sourdough popovers, and they taste delicious, guys. Plus, the recipe eats up some excess starter that otherwise would go in the trash. Winning! If you’re not familiar with this excess starter business or don’t understand why this post is called Gloria’s Popovers, check out the page on my sourdough starter, Gloria.

Let’s get popping!

Total time: 1 hour
Yield: 6 popovers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (8 oz) milk, microwaved until slightly warm to touch (~100°F)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup (4½ oz) sourdough starter, unfed or fed
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (4¼ oz) all-purpose flour

A note on equipment: There are popover-specific pans, and while I own one because I love popovers enough to purchase specialty bakeware, your financial priorities might follow a different path. A muffin tin will work perfectly, you just need to use 6 of the baskets. I’ve successfully used disposable aluminum muffin tins before as well.

 Place muffin tin or popover pan in the oven. Preheat to 450°F

Combine the milk, eggs, starter, and salt

I use a small metal whisk (or just a fork) to get a mixture that looks like this. You don’t need to obliterate the egg or anything, but once you’ve broken the yolks up, keep whisking for a bit. Technically, I think the yolks should be less apparent than in my picture. I like my popovers just fine, though.

Add the flour and mix again

You want to incorporate the flour, but don’t sweat the small stuff. Over mixing popover batter (or cake batter or muffin batter) results in a finished product with a tough, chewy texture due to the formation of gluten.

That said, when your batter looks like the picture below, keep stirring, you’ve got a ways to go.

Once your batter looks frothy/bubbly, check the sides of the bowl. If there are only tiny bumps, you’ve done the thing!

Finished batter should look something like the picture below. The recipes I’ve found tend to compare the consistency to that of pancake batter, if that helps you.

Remove the muffin tin or popover pan from the oven; spray cups with vegetable oil or pour a little melted butter into the bottoms.

For those using a 12-basket muffin tin, only grease 6 and keep in mind that every popover wants a lot of personal space in order to reach its full potential. Don’t crowd them all at one end.

In their recipe instructions, King Arthur Flour advises bakers to brush the baskets with oil or butter. I don’t usually follow this advice, seeing as the butter or oil tends to just pool at the bottom of the nonstick popover baskets. Plus, in other popover recipes, KAF just mixes the butter into the batter. If you’re using a non-nonstick pan, though, definitely give the brushing a whirl. No brush? Paper towels work just fine, and if you don’t want to burn your fingers on the super hot metal, you can make a cool doohickey like I did, by wrapping paper towels around a knife.

Maybe my mom was right, I should’ve been an engineer.

Pour the batter and put that pan in the oven

With a popover pan, fill each basket almost to the top, or about ¾ of the way up the sides.

With a muffin tin, fill each basket to the top.

Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 375°F and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown all around

I took the picture below about halfway through baking. You want more consistent coloring across the board.

Also, depending on your oven, you might want to turn the pan 180° when you lower the temperature in order to ensure an even bake all around.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately

Warm popovers are the greatest, I promise you’ll love tearing these guys open and chowing down with butter, jam, jelly, honey, or whatever strikes your fancy. I like to have one with Nutella and then about four with butter and jelly. I mentioned that this recipe serves one, right?

 

I hope you enjoyed to the inaugural post of my newest category: Bonus Bakes! Of course, bread remains the focus of this blog, but baking other things is awesome, too. Over the course of the last few weeks, I embarked on a quest to make amazing pancakes using my Grandma Estelle’s recipe—as recounted by my father, as interpreted by me—and revisited the world of cake baking/decorating, an intensely sugared journey made worth it by my nephew’s look of confusion as he carefully demolished his first birthday cake. I promise, once I get this pancake conundrum sorted, you’ll hear all about it.

Another thing….if you want to make popovers but don’t have sourdough starter, you’re in luck, because most people make popovers without sourdough. Here’s a KAF recipe that’s amazing.