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Parmesan Popovers

January 7, 2010

My earliest memories of popovers date back to mid-1980’s.  My grandma would make popovers and ham loaf every time we went to her house, and I though popovers were the most mystical and awesome thing ever (besides She-Ra, of course).  I would stand by the oven, knowing that I could not open the oven door, lest the popovers be ruined, waiting for them to be done.  Even at the tender age of four I knew that popovers were not to be messed with.

My love for popovers has carried on over the years, although I don’t know what I’d ever eat them with besides ham.  We recently baked a ham and I made eight popovers (you can make popovers without a popover pan, but you can only use the outer-most muffin wells, hence there were eight).  It was only me and Nate, but I am proud to say we ate them all.   They’re no good left over, you see, so it had to be done.

However, as you can see, the inside is mostly air, so eating four popovers isn’t really that much. 

There are two important things to keep in mind when making popovers: 1) DO NOT open the oven door! and 2)  Get your pan nice and hot before you pour in the batter.  A hot pan (and oven) will help the popovers to get puffy and rise immediately, which is key for the whole light-and-airy thing.  It was nothing short of a miracle that my popovers turned out perfectly since I couldn’t open the oven door and my gas oven has an unreliable temperature gauge and no oven window.  I was pretty much flying blind, keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.  When I finally opened up the oven, I did a happy dance.  Seriously.  I don’t kid about popovers.

Parmesan Popovers

(Adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter , melted
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (or more, if you want.  This isn’t an exact science)

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk until well combined, about 20 seconds. Whisk the flour and salt in a medium bowl and add to the egg mixture; stir with a wooden spoon or spatula just until the flour is incorporated; the mixture will still be lumpy. Add the melted butter. Whisk until the batter is bubbly and smooth, about 30 seconds. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

While the batter is resting, measure 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil into each cup of the popover pan. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place the popover pan in the oven, and heat to 450 degrees. After the batter has rested, pour it into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or another container with a spout (you will have about 2 cups batter). Working quickly, remove the pan from the oven, sprinkle about 1 teaspoon or parmesan cheese into the bottom of each cup and distribute the batter evenly among the 6 cups in the pan (if you use a standard muffin tin, you will have 8 cups in the pan and a little batter left over). Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, without opening the oven door. Lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown all over, 15 to 18 minutes more. Invert the pan onto a wire rack to remove the popovers and cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

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