Pop on Over for Some Popovers

Part of setting up an online shop was learning a little more advanced photography work.  That’s me and Professor M.

We liked our lessons to involve food.

Like popovers!

Do you eat popovers?  They’re so easy and so good.

We eat them every couple of weeks with local honey and apricot jam.  They don’t need any fancy gadgets to make – just a muffin tin.

The thing is no one seems to agree on the best way to make them.  I’ve wanted to share popovers with you for so long.  But one recipe says you need to let the batter sit for 30 minutes.  Another says you shouldn’t waste a second before popping them into the oven.  Beat them briefly.  No wait!  Let your kids overmix and goof around if you want, because nothing can mess up your popovers!

I honestly have no idea.

I’d say the bigger influence is humidity and altitude.

So while I’m no expert on whipping and resting, I do know a few things about how environment influences cooking.

  • Here in the Rocky Mountains, you could die of chapped lips.  The air is so dry.
  • In Berlin if you want to air dry your jeans in the winter, let me just say:  don’t plan on needing those pants for at least two days.  They’re gonna be damp, and that’s just awkward.
  • I like when athletic Germans visit us in the mountains.  The altitude in the valley is a mile high here (1.6 kilometers).  They have trouble breathing the thin air, which means I have a chance at keeping up.
  • Meanwhile, the altitude in Berlin is pretty darn close to sea level.  I rock on a bike!  (Well until my lungs acclimate to the low altitude.)

So popovers.  I don’t know what to tell you.  Maybe there’s a secret key out there.  I’d say I have two:

We use this recipe where it’s high and dry:

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 c milk
3 tbsp butter

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 C).
2.  Mix together eggs and milk.  Then add flour and salt.  It will be slightly lumpy.
3.  Drop little cubes of butter into each cup of a muffin tin.  Melt briefly.  Then pour in egg mixture.
4.  Fill tins to approximately 3/4 full.  Bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.
5.  Serve warm.

We use this recipe where it’s low and humid:

1 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 c milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter, melted

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 C).
2.  Melt butter and mix with eggs and milk.  Then add flour and salt.  It will be slightly lumpy.
3.  Butter tins and fill tins to approximately 1/2 full.  Bake 15 minutes at 400.  Then reduce heat to 350 for five minutes.
5.  Serve warm.

You can see that each recipe varies in its technique and quantity just a little.

As you know, I like to blame things on jetlag all the time.  It’s a good, fake excuse.  But in this case, that is actually the reason my recipe changed.  I’ve been making popovers from memory for a long time in Germany.  But when we got back to the US, I was tired and confused.  Dang!  I didn’t even have to put my own eggs in the cartons at the grocery store anymore.  The farmers had already done that for me.  Then the stores all put every egg carton in huge refrigerators.  It was so cold and impersonal.

If I couldn’t remember how to buy eggs, you just know I wasn’t going to remember my favorite egg recipe.  So I started over.

You know, it would be really easy if I could just hop back and forth to do a little scientific popover testing.  My taste tester would have to come, too!  (We would not complain.)

Then I would not have to say, “Hey guys!  Silly me.  You’re going to have to pick your own recipe, and I’m not going to promise if you’ve got the right one.  Because I don’t know!”

And I don’t know.

I only know two things.  First – never, ever open the oven while your popovers are baking.  They will deflate!

Second – popovers are worth trying often.  It’s spring!  We’ll have fresh fruit, Easter, and plenty of popovers.  You don’t need a popover tin.  Use your cupcake/muffin pan.

As Professor M – my fabulous taste tester – says every time popovers make it to our table:

“Pop on over for some popovers!”