I am often asked where I get the ideas for my recipes, and the truth is inspiration can come from anywhere. A great meal at a restaurant, a TV commercial, a stack of cookbooks, and obviously Pinterest are all great sources of inspiration. One of my favorite resources, especially on a Friday night when my husband is working late, is Diners, Driver-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network. I don’t recommend watching that show while you’re hungry, because hunger pains will morph into absolute salivating starvation. My recipe for Perfect Popovers was originally inspired by DDD.
I actually keep a journal on-hand so I can quickly jot down food-related ideas whenever necessary. Whether it’s an idea for my blog, a recipe for the weekend, or planning ahead for a special event, I like to know that good ideas will not simply vanish into an abyss of forgetfulness when something comes up and I switch gears too quickly. I always have this journal and a pen on hand when I watch DDD. I make notes such as “dill pickle macaroni & cheese” or “French toast with wild rice & cranberries,” just general ideas of food that looked amazing on the show. One day I saw an episode with lemon-poppy seed popovers, and I was in love.
This happened last fall sometime, and I didn’t own a popover pan. You can substitute souffle dishes, placing them on a baking sheet not touching, but I never got around to trying that. Luckily, my Aunt Susan found the popover pan on my Christmas last and generously ordered it for me. Before venturing down the lemon-poppy seed popover path, I wanted to try out a basic recipe first. Practice makes perfect, after all.
It turns out popovers are a pretty easy roll, wayyyyyy easier and less intense than my yeast Butter Horn Rolls. To make popovers, you simply whisk together 5 ingredients in a bowl and pour the batter into the pan. Craziness: You don’t even preheat the oven! Pop the pan into a cold oven, THEN crank up the heat, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. No peeking!!!! At least not during the first 30 minutes. You don’t want to disrupt the rising process.
The rolls themselves are hollow inside with an eggy flavor. I sampled versions spread with butter and spread with strawberry jam, and the strawberry jam was definitely the way to go. Somehow the butter got lost in the flavor of the popover, but the jam was the perfect sweet compliment. And so delicious! I am definitely going to pick up a second popover pan so I can make a dozen at a time. (Note: a standard popover pan makes six large popovers; you can also get a mini popover pan which makes twelve miniature popovers).
When is a good time to serve Perfect Popovers? Because of the delicious relationship they have with jam, breakfast and brunch is a great first step. They are also great on your holiday table at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Make the popovers up to one month in advance and freeze them in a plastic bag; thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake 5 to 7 minutes in a 350°F to warm.
It doesn’t get much easier than that when it comes to homemade rolls.
- 2 T. butter, melted and divided
- 3 eggs
- 1 c. whole milk
- 1 c. flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Move an oven rack to the middle position. Brush the inside of a standard 6-cup popover pan, or a miniature 12-cup popover pan, with the half (1 T.) melted butter.
- In a deep bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together remaining melted butter, eggs, and milk. Stir in the flour and salt until just combined. Pour the batter into the popover pan, filling each cup about ⅔ full.
- Place the popover pan in a cold oven and immediately preheat to 375°F. Bake the popovers 35 to 45 minutes, keeping the oven door closed at all times during the first 30 minutes. Do not peek.
- The popovers are done when they are tall, deep golden brown in color, and puffy. Remove them from the oven and immediately make a small cut in the side of each popover so steam may escape. Cool 5 minutes.
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