In the Fall a young woman's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of ...popovers
Think back. How many popovers have you ever eaten? They definitely aren't trendy, like, say, desserts served in shot glasses (I'm over that. I'm sick of drinking my dessert.) or hanger steaks or small plates or soju cocktails. They are Un. Cool. Just like me. If popovers were clothes, they would be soft old sweaters and wool clogs. Flannel nightgowns and down booties. Popovers would NEVER be able to squeeze their ample protuberances into skinny jeans. Not that they would want to. Harrumph.
Given their forgotten status, I was surprised when a simple Google search revealed that a blogger named Rachel has beaten me to the popover poetry by a matter of days. It seems that she and I have more than just popovers in common; with a site called Cupcake Supernova, she's definitely a gal after my own heart.
Are the two of us unknowingly teetering on the cutting edge? Will we precipitate a wave of popover trends that will soon result in ginger-wasabi popovers and micro popovers injected with salted caramel or infused with star anise and dusted lightly with fennel pollen?
I suspect not.
I think fall is just a popovery season. They're easy to make, and perfect for mornings when a dark sky encourages you to wake up late but your growling stomach punishes you for each extra minute you lie in bed. They require nothing more than a few simple ingredients that you almost always have, a short spin in the blender, and a quick bake in cupcake pans. No need to change out of your pajamas.
Popovers provide miniature amounts of culinary drama without much risk or effort. They begin life looking like sloppy pancake batter and emerge from the oven a mere thirty minutes later, their little top hats having exploded gleefully upwards during their stint in the heat. The interior of a popover reveals gentle coddling, left behind as it is at the bottom of the muffin cup and subject to a more gentle transformation during the crust's mad dash for the higher reaches of the oven. Custardy and slightly chewy, the secret insides of the popover beg to be slathered with dense, creamy European butters and jeweled preserves made by a woman with a name that seemed destined for jam labels.
Because popovers are admittedly comprised largely of air, you are entitled and empowered to eat many more than just one. Popovers are the popcorn of breakfast foods. You may also enjoy them at other times of the day, with savory dishes or spreads (or veer off in an even more traditional direction by replacing the butter with beef drippings, which will bestow upon you a nice Yorkshire Pudding).
Some people (such as the gentleman that I live with) dare to denigrate the popover, calling it "bland" and "boring". Ignore the naysayers. Their bad attitudes just mean that there'll be more popovers left for you.
In case you are still harbor doubts about the magic I describe, here's what I suggest: this weekend, settle into your favorite reading chair, arranging your bathrobe just so, and place a nice warm cup of tea at your side. Install a kitty nearby if possible. Rest a generous plate of warm popovers on your lap with some butter and jam, and crack open a good book.
You'll see what I mean.
The recipe I use is from Baking with Julia, which I think is perfectly fitting. If anybody was dedicated to deliciousness over fashion, it was Julia C.
Makes 9 large or 10 medium popovers.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole or 2% milk, at room temp
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temp
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
Melted butter or cooking spray for greasing cupcake pan
Position rack on lowest rung of oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Butter or spray 10 muffin cups. You will need to use two pans or make the popovers in two batches because you won't fill all the holes in order to allow the popovers sufficient air circulation.
Put all ingredients into a blender and whirl until smooth. Strain batter if lumpy.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup, filling alternate cups in each tin to allow popovers to have puffing space. Bake without opening oven door for 25 minutes until popovers are puffed, nicely browned and crisp on exterior. Turn temperature down to 350 degrees and bake another 15-20 minutes to dry out interior. Serve immediately.
You can freeze them and reheat in the oven, but they may look a little strange. (Mine had cracked, dusty-looking tops. They still tasted fine and dandy.)