Popovers are a relatively quick and easy alternative to biscuits or rolls as an accompaniment for a meal. Rather than making a dough, you make what is really a batter, so it is much more liquid than a bread dough, and there’s no need to wait for it to rise. They are somewhat similar to a soufflé, which will add beaten egg whites for a lighter texture, in that they can rise quite a bit and may have a somewhat hollow center (a lot of folks say a soufflé should not be hollow, but in restaurants they often ladle a sauce into the middle to add flavor and to fill-in such gaps). Popovers can be made plain, sweet (add sugar, honey or molasses), or savory (add herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or Herbes de Provence). It is also similar to a Yorkshire pudding, which uses meat drippings instead of butter.
I have made the plain and savory types of popovers several times using all-purpose flour (AP). But for this batch, I wanted to try something different: the Turkey Red Wheat flour I got from Next Step Produce a week or so ago (see Organic flour from Newburg, MD). When using wheat flour, you usually have to combine it with another flour, otherwise the loaf or batter will be far too dense. Even using half wheat and half AP, I had my doubts about how much height I’d get on these popovers. I also had a new, deep popover pan to try, as in the past I’ve just used a muffin tin.
I like the savory version of popovers, so decided to add thyme to this batch. Also, given the much larger cups in my new popover tin, this recipe only made enough batter to half-fill five of the six cups. And, as it turned out, they didn’t rise as much as regular popovers, and the centers weren’t hollow either. But, they tasted very good. A full list of ingredients that I used, along with instructions are in the recipe below, followed by a photo gallery related to the various stages of the recipe.
Wheat & thyme popovers
Yield 5 – 12 popovers
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 3 eggs (if your eggs are on the large size, just use 2)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Preheat the convection oven to 400° (425° if using a regular oven).
- Mix together the eggs, milk, tablespoon of butter, sugar and salt (I used an old-fashioned egg-beater, but you can use an electric mixer or a stand mixer). Then gradually mix in the flour, perhaps ¼ of a cup at a time and add in the thyme; the mixture should be quite smooth when finished.
- Spray the cups of your popover tin with non-stick cooking spray. Then fill each cup of your popover tin about halfway; if you don’t have enough batter for all the cups, half-fill any empty cups with water (it helps balance the pan). Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, then reduce your convection oven temperature to 325° (350° in a regular oven) and continue baking for 15 more minutes, or until popovers are brown and puffed. Don’t open the oven door to check on your popovers until they have been baking for at least 30 minutes. Remove your popovers from the tin and serve while hot.
A lot of popover recipes I’ve read tell you to put butter in the cups and then pre-heat the tin while you make your batter. I tried this the first time I made them and ended up with cups full of burned butter. I then tried making them by preheating the tin, then spraying the cups with non-stick spray (they spray turned dark brown pretty quickly). The next time I made them, I tried making them without preheating the tin at all, and it seemed to work fine. Make of my experience what you will; your mileage may vary.
Many recipes will tell you to bake the popover for 20 minutes or so, and then quickly take them out, and pierce the tops with a knife to let steam out, then return the tin to the oven to finish baking. They say this helps set the tops. I’ve tried making them with piercing and without, and haven’t noticed any significant difference. Again, your mileage may vary.
Popovers photo gallery
Please give popovers a try. They are one of the easiest things you can make, and have lots of variations you can play with. Enjoy! ♦
Get your own eggbeater or popover pan
If you’d like to purchase an eggbeater or popover pan as shown in the photo gallery in this article, please follow the links below: