Monday, January 25, 2010

Parmesan-Herb Popovers

From The Art & Soul of Baking

Makes 12 popovers Popovers are culinary sleight of hand. Their simple ingredients and mixing method belie the great heights to which they rise during baking, puffing up like crispy brown balloons. A popover pan is designed to optimize that rise, with tall narrow cups that force the batter upward. The recipe here gives instructions for baking popovers in a regular muffin pan; the variation uses a popover pan.

Although they don’t rise as high when baked in a muffin pan, they develop a rounded depression at the bottom that, when turned upside down, is the perfect spot for some sautéed mushrooms or a generous spoonful of soft-scrambled eggs. If you like, leave out the cheese and rosemary and fill the depression with your favorite jam.

Ingredients
1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (1 ounce) freshly grated
Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Equipment
Standard 12-Cup Muffin Pan, Medium Bowl, Whisk, Silicone or Rubber Spatula, 2-Cup Liquid Measuring Cup, Cooling Rack, Small Offset Spatula (Optional)

Getting Ahead
All of the ingredients may be measured in advance, but do not combine them until you are ready to bake the popovers.

1 Preheat the oven to 450°F and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly coat the muffin pan with melted butter, oil, or high-heat canola-oil spray. Once the oven is fully heated, heat the prepared muffin pan in the oven for 7 minutes.
2 In the medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, melted butter, flour, and salt until well blended. Add the cheese and rosemary and blend well.
3 Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the measuring cup. Remove the pan from the oven and close the oven door. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 400°F and continue to bake for 15 minutes longer, until the popovers are puffed and deep golden brown. Cool the pan on a rack for a couple of minutes. Remove from the pan with a spoon or small offset spatula and serve hot.

Storing
Popovers do not hold or store well, so plan on enjoying them when they are fresh from the oven. If they have cooled, reheat them briefly in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until warm.

Classic Popovers
This variation uses the classic popover pan. The deep wells in the pan need more batter, so you’ll need to double the recipe above. Omit the Parmesan cheese and rosemary and increase the salt to ½ teaspoon. Bake for 20 minutes at 450°F, then lower the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the popovers are a deep golden brown. Serve immediately.