The year that I meet Tom, we travelled to Bar Harbor, Maine for the first time to meet his extended family. The WHOLE family, as in there were over twenty people plus expected, we had a agenda of activities sent to us before the trip.
Sadly the occasion was not a joyous one. See, a week after I meet Tom, his father past away. It was not a surprise passing, his father had been sick for a while and it was his time to go, everyone had made peace and they were simply getting together to celebrate his life and to scater his ashes on top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park as per his request. I wrote about this trip here and here.
The trip for me was a chance to travel within the US. I have to come clean, having lived in the US for more than twenty years and I’m clueless about the country in general. I’m a snob traveler and most of my trips involved the use of a passport, so I don’t know my adopted country that well - there I said it *hung head low*.
I was totally enchanted with Bar Harbor. A town, which borders Arcadia National Park will give you lots of “ohhh’s” and “aww” moments by nature which gives them to us for FREE - the vista, the cute houses, the friendly people, and the food. During this trip I experience for the first time whoopee pies, lots of seafood and popovers.
Have you ever tried a popover? No, then this one is one of those things that I fully recommend you put on your “food to eat before I die” list.
We had them in the best setting posible too. In the middle of the park, there is a restaurant called Jordan Pond House and they are known for keeping the 1800’s tradition of having tea and popovers. And when I say popovers I mean HUGE popovers. They come out of the oven hot, and they serve it with strawberry jam and butter. When you take a bite, you are transported to a time horse drawn carriages.
I had not thought about them for a while, until Marie from my HCB club posted a recipe and it brought the memory of bitting into that rich, hot pastry back.
I had to make them.
I did not have the pan.
I did not care, I had to make them.
And make them I did.
They are not complicated, in fact the batter comes together pretty easily and the fact that I did not have a popover pan did not stop them from cooking, really high and popping all over! They lasted a total of 20 minutes, enough for Tom, the little man and myself to shoved them down our mouth as fast as we could.
Before you start, read the tips at the end of the recipe.
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoom unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon canola oil (1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons for making in a muffin pan)
- In a medium bowl, (I used my handy 8 cup measuring cup) whisk the eggs and milk together. Whisk the flour and salt together in a small bowl then sprinkle the mixture over the egg/milk mixture. Stir with a spatula until the flour is just incorporated, then add the melted butter. Whisk the mixture together thoroughly until it is smooth with a few bubbles on top. Cover with a clean, dry dishtowel and let rest for 30 minutes.
- While the batter rests, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place half a teaspoon of oil in the 6 center cups of the pan (leaving the 3 cups on each end of the pan empty). Place the prepared pan in the warming oven and allow it to heat with the oven while the batter continues to rest. **To make these in a muffin pan, place 1/2 teaspoon of oil in the 10 cups on the outside of the pan (leaving the 2 center cups empty). Continue as normal.
- Once the batter has rested, as quickly as you can, remove the popover pan from the oven and divide the batter evenly between the 6 prepared cups (or 10 if using a muffin pan). In a standard popover pan, you fill the cup almost to the top – in the muffin pan the ½ way mark will do. Immediately place the pan back into the preheated oven and bake the popovers for 20 minutes; do not open the oven door.
- At the 20 minute mark, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 15-18 minutes, or until the popovers are golden brown. Transfer the popovers to a wire cooling rack and allow cooling for 3-5 minutes before serving.
- Serve hot with your favorite goodies like jam, butter, maple syrup, peanut butter, or honey. Some people open the popover and put in fillings: fruit, vegetables, meat or cheese.
Here are a couple of tips that I picked up around the internet when searching for that perfect recipe and technique:
Tip #1: Flour: use all-purpose flour, not bread or cake flour. Unbleached flour is better than bleached flour. Spoon the flour into the cup and level it off with a knife. Do not shake the cup to settle the flour.
Tip #2: The popovers rise better if the batter is at room temperature. If you need to get them warm, you place your eggs in hot water for a couple of minutes to get them warm up and use the microwave or on the stove to warm up the milk.
Tip #3: Move the oven rack to a lower (but not necessarily the lowest) slot to keep the tops from overbrowning.
Tip #4: Preheat the oven until the oven thermometer says it is the right temperature. Preheat the popover pan on top of a baking sheet in the oven until hot. The baking sheet boosts the bottom heat, which helps the popovers rise
Tip #5: Brush the popover pan with melted butter or oil (preferably canola).
Tip #6: Pour the batter into the popover pan from a lipped pitcher or bowl. The pan is out of the oven only a short time, so it stays hot. Also, you avoid stirring the batter more. Fill the cups 1/2 full. Do not overfill the cups.
Tip #7: If you leave one of the cups of the popover pan empty, fill it half full of water. This will help protect the pan from the high heat.
Tip #8: DON’T PEEK! Remember, popovers are leavened by steam. Heat is required for the rising of the popovers. If you open the oven door, the heat escapes, the oven cools down, the steam inside the popovers condenses, and the popovers collapse. So, don’t peek for at least the first half hour of baking.
Tip #9: Leave the popovers in the oven until the sides are firm and crusty. If they are taken out of the oven too soon, the popovers collapse and lose their magnificent puffs.
Tip #10: If you leave the popovers sitting in the pan after removing them from the oven, they tend to get soggy. One way to prevent sogginess is to slit the popovers with a knife five minutes before the end of baking to release the steam. Be careful! The popovers are extremely hot fresh out of the oven, due to the steam.
Tip #11: To store leftovers, wait until they cool completely to put into a food storage bag. If you seal them into a bag while they are hot, the steam condenses inside the bag, turns to water, and makes the popovers mushy.