Last week, I talked about ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving foods. Whenever I think of them, I always think of one of my cousin’s sons – her older son. He was very young then, maybe 5 or 6, I don’t recall exactly, but I was living in an old house in WLA. To get a table long enough for everyone, furniture had to be moved, and tables were set from the wall in one room all way through to the wall in another room. To get from one side to the other, you had to go all the way around the house (inside, fortunately, thru a bedroom, bathroom and another hallway!) The little ones just crawled under the table!
My mother brought me her cast iron popover pan that had 12 holes; I had 2 heavy duty muffin pans that brought the count to 36 but I was afraid I’d still be short so I took out 6 glass custard cups. Mother and I agreed that should be enough for everyone to have at least 1 and some to have 2.
They came out of the oven looking beautiful! Golden brown, towering over the pans and custard cups and ready to be put immediately into baskets for serving. Grabbing a pair of kitchen mittens, I started to remove the custard cups when someone asked a question and I continued as I answered it. Soon all was ready…and off to the table they went. Everyone oohed and aahed as they broke into them and the steam rose out. Then, in a stage whisper, came this little voice: “Mommy, am I supposed to eat the glass, too” Everyone howled as I quickly removed the last glass custard cup that I had apparently forgotten!
I won’t tell you his name – I would never embarrass him that way since he is a grown man now, but whenever I think of popovers, I think of him! And a wonderful thought it is!
The trick to making popovers is to preheat the muffin or popover pan (or custard cups) with butter or oil so that they are piping hot when you pour in the batter! If they aren’t hot, the popovers won’t rise properly. Rule #2 is DO NOT under any circumstances, open the oven until they are done or they will fall flat!
I love them hot with butter, but any leftovers can be reheated for a few minutes in the toaster oven (not the microwave for this or they won’t be crisp) with jam or preserves.
And yes, popovers are America’s answer to the English Yorkshire Pudding!
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 450. Butter well 12 deep custard cups or 16 muffin or popover pans and set aside. (Using the heaviest – cast iron or cast aluminum if you have it – for best results.) If using custard cups, place on a rimmed baking sheet so they don’t slide off.
With a hand mixer, beat eggs slightly until blended. Add milk, flour and salt and beat on low speed until just completely mixed. Don’t over beat air into the batter.
Put prepared popover pans into the oven to heat and melt the butter. When the butter is melted and the pans are VERY hot, fill 1/2 to 3/4 full with batter. Place in the oven and reduce heat to 350.
Bake 15 – 20 minutes until puffed up and a deep golden brown and sound hollow when lightly tapped (they will be hollow). Quickly turn out of pans or cups into a napkin-lined basket and serve hot with butter.