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Popovers

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Hi,
As a child, many years ago, my Dad used to make the most beautiful and tasty popovers. They "popped" up and were hollow inside. Absolutely delicious with butter and honey. I have tried two different recipes and cannot get them to puff up. They rise maybe a half an inch and just bake. Can anyone help me? I want to go back to my childhood and it just isn't working. What am I doing wrong? I am following the recipe to a "T"
Thanks

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    1. did you open the oven while they were cooking? this would cause the popovers to not puff up or deflate

      1. The Fannie Farmer recipe has never failed me.

        2 eggs
        1 cup milk
        1 tbsp melted butter
        1 cup flour
        1/4 tsp salt
        Half-fill buttered muffin pan or custard cups. Put them in a cold oven and set heat at 450. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake another 15-20 minutes.

        They always work for me, although I splurged for a popover pan from Williams-Sonoma because I was so addicted to them. I've tried many other recipes and this one is by far the most foolproof!

        3 Replies
        1. re: rastorga

          That looks just like the recipe I used. Definitely start with a cold oven and do not open. Thanks for reminding me of this recipe. I have not cooked them in a long time.

          1. re: rastorga

            I use this recipe too, cutting it in half, since I live alone. Do you think the melted butter makes a big difference? I never use it, now I wonder if I'm missing something!

            1. re: rastorga

              I have to agree, the Fannie Farmer recipe works great. I got a FF cookbook 20 years ago and always used the recipe for my "perfect" popovers. I tossed out my FF cookbook recently as it was falling apart and I got a new Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I tied that recipe 2 weekends ago FAILURE. Then I went on the internet last weekend and tried a "no fail" recipe I found there which said to start in a warm oven - FAILURE again. This weekend I tried one more internet recipe and finally decided to search for my old failsafe the FF recipe and here it is. THANK YOU rastorga next week I will try again this time with my favorite old FF recipe!

            2. Tips, make sure you use whole milk, not 2% or skim. DO NOT OPEN OVEN. I heat muffin tin in hot oven, add butter and then batter. This seems to make them very puffy. Sift your flour so it is fluffy. I also add herbs like dillweed, finely chopped parsley, shallots, cheese to flavor popovers. You must time them so that guests are at table when done, they deflate very quickly, won't hold well.

              1. Can you post the popover recipe you're using?

                3 Replies
                1. re: the5thbeatle

                  Be glad to....2 Eggs, 1 cup whole milk,1 tbl.spoon.butter,1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix all ingredients, Fill greased muffin tins 1/2 full. Put in cold oven and set temp top 450 degrees.Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
                  I also tried starting in the hot oven. Neither way worked. I used Pyrex custard cups.

                  1. re: Sandyb1115

                    Your recipe has the same ingredients as mine does, and in the same proportions. Except I don't use the butter in the batter, I use it to grease the pan. Couple of things mentioned in the recipe I have:

                    Gently warm the milk.
                    Whisk the eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in warm milk.
                    Sift the flour with the salt.
                    Add the flour slowly and gently to the eggs and milk, and don't over mix it. It should be mostly smooth, not completely smooth.

                    Good luck! Popovers are definitely worth the effort.

                    1. re: Sandyb1115

                      I make successful popovers every time.

                      The one and only time they did not pop for me os when I used bread flour. So, check your flour too. :)

                  2. That Fanny Farmer recipe is very close to the one I use. A couple more tips: First sift, then measure your flour. Mix together milk, eggs and melted butter, then add flour, about 1/3 at a time. Use the best non-stick, jumbo muffin pan you can afford. Heat the greased muffin pan in a HOT (450 degree) oven for 5 minutes before adding the batter. Start baking at 425; after 15 minutes turn heat down to 350; bake about 30 minutes at 350. Don't open the oven once they're baking! My popovers never collapse because they're crusty on the outside, a little soft inside. YUM!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: CindyJ

                      I didn't sift the flour. Let me try that and see if there is a difference. Other than that I have done all that everyone is telling me. I am determined. Oh, how I wish I had payed attention to my Dad when he was baking them....

                    2. Do people think the pan makes a difference? I make a recipe that I got from a BLT dinner. I bought a fancy-dancy popover pan, and almost had a heart attack when I got to the cash register of this very fancy kitchen ware place near my home (As I was wandering around the store, I was thinking "how much can this pan cost?" - well, I sure found out!!!)

                      The recipe makes more batter than I could fit into my new pan, so I put the rest into a muffin tin, following the same directions. Lo and behold, the popovers in the F.D. pan were much "poppier" than the ones I made in the muffin tin! So now I don't feel so bad about dropping the dough. The Popover pan has much deeper and steeper wells than my muffin tin. All the surfaces are coated with non-stick coating. After heating and oiling the pan, I fill it 3/4 way up. It really works well.

                      The recipe I use also says to bake for 15 minutes, then open the oven and rotate the pans by 90 degrees and continue baking for another 35 minutes. So I don't believe it is crucial to keep the oven closed, at least with the BLT recipe.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: moh

                        I absolutely believe the pan you use makes all the difference. Over the years I've tried all kinds of pans and greasing methods. What I came to realize is that the popovers can't "pop" if there's anything holding the batter to the pan. So a good-quality non-stick pan is essential, and even with a non-stick pan, I still grease the cups. Lately I've been using butter-flavored Pam spray. The shape of the pan also makes a difference. This makes the case for using a popover pan rather than an all-purpose muffin pan.

                        As for opening the oven to rotate the pans -- unless your oven has extremely uneven heat, I wouldn't do it; the loss of heat upon opening the oven would likely affect the end result.

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          Yes, the batter not being held back seems to be a very plausible explanation!

                          Re: opening the oven, I certainly see your point. Perhaps it is best not to recommend this practice. But it seems to work out when I make them. I shall try doing it without opening the oven the next time and see what happens.

                          Well, maybe not the next time, I've been inspired to make a batch for a wine tasting dinner tonight. Next time I'm not doing it for company! Why fix it if it ain't broke? (dang. Have I jinxed myself? will they not pop tonight? Now I'm nervous)

                          1. re: moh

                            Dang. It happened. I didn't rotate the pans after 15 minutes. One side got cooked more than the other , and the overcooked side did not puff up as much as the other side. So they were all cock-eyed, and not as puffy as every other time I made them. So I'm going back to my other method I think.

                          2. re: CindyJ

                            I bought a King size non-stick popover pan from BB&B that seems to be working out but am still trying to figure out how to make them lighter and airier. Also trying to prevent deflation, any other suggestions? I too am using the Fannie Farmer recipe.

                        2. Try letting your batter rest 15 minutes after blending. And I do think the popover pan works better than muffin tins. I didn't buy mine at a fancy store and so didn't pay very much for it. You might want to look around.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: mirage

                            Thanks, all of you wonderful cooks. I am going to try to incorporate all your suggestions and I will let you know. First of all I will go buy a "Popover" pan. Although my Dad always used custard cups, I think I will go with the pan.
                            Thanks.....more on this later!

                            1. re: Sandyb1115

                              My earliest attempts at popovers were also with pyrex custard cups. Invariably, some of them stuck to the cups. I can remember trying to coax them out with a narrow metal spatula. But that was back before today's specialized popover pans were so widely available. You can use custard cups for nostalgic reasons, but I have a feeling your results will be better with a good popover pan. DO let us know how they turn out.

                              1. re: Sandyb1115

                                If you like your popovers very crisp, a number of recipes says to use a skewer (or something similar) to puncture your popovers about 10 minutes before taking them out of the oven...

                            2. Do you have a convection oven? My popovers work *much* better in a standard oven than in a convection oven.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: modthyrth

                                The recipe on the index card from my mother:

                                1 c. sifted flour
                                1/2 tsp. salt
                                2 eggs
                                1 c. milk (I use 1%, since that's what I keep in the house.)
                                1 T oil

                                Heat oven to 425. Put 6 pyrex custard cups in the oven to heat up. Remove and grease just before filling.

                                Put all ingredients in bowl and beat with rotary beater until mixture is very smooth.

                                Fill cups a little less than half full and bake, without peeking, about 35 minutes or until sides are rigid to the touch. If drier popovers are desired, pierce with a knife and bake 5 minutes longer. If you grease the cups or tins well, they won't stick.

                                Works every time. This is essentially the same popover recipe as in Mollie Katzen's children's cookbook Pretend Soup, except hers calls for muffin tins and makes 12 because the tins are smaller than the custard cups. They both turn out beautifully, but my son prefers the custard cup version.

                                1. re: marcia2

                                  Thanks, Marcia
                                  Think I will try your recipe and see what happens.
                                  Sandy

                              2. It's messy, but a pretty foolproof way to get really big,airy popovers(especially to serve with roast beef) is to fill the pans about 1/2" deep with rendered grease from the roast. it will pop and splatter, but the resulting popovers are incredible. I dust them at the end with finely grated reggiano, and use an ancient blacksteel muffin pan. Pretty much the same recipe as above(1C. Milk,1C. flour, 2 eggs, etc) only difference is that I preheat the pan and use hot grease. It makes the outside edge crispy as an added bonus.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: chazzerking

                                  Sounds like individual Yorkshire puddings -- what a nice variation.

                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                    Yeah, I know. That's really what they are, but they look just like and taste pretty much like popovers, so I though I'd mention it. Since the OP had problems with their's not rising, and I've never had a problem with these. In fact the only problem I've ever had was one rose so high, it stuck to the upper rack in the oven and tore trying to get it out of the oven. Too bad; I had to eat it in the kitchen since it wasn't presentable..

                                2. i had the same popover issues, which i posted about here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/282320

                                  i now get consistently poppy popovers (one thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/338015 ) and i think the difference is entirely due to mixing by hand, and not in the food processor--allows air bubbles into the batter that then pop. buttering the sides gives nicer flavor than the toxic cooking spray with flour inside, but the toxic spray yields puffier popovers. adding some parmesan cheese to the tins also allows the batter to climb up the sides (but obviously changes the flavor). i 'm also superstitious about working fast--i preheat the pan in the oven, and try to get the batter into the pan, and the pan back into the oven quick. given that plenty of people are successful starting from a cold oven, i don't think that's the part of my popover prep that produces the pops.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: rose water

                                    has anyone ever tried adding ham or cheese to their popovers? I've always wanted to try this, but I'm not sure if by adding this, will end up in the middle of the popovers.

                                    1. re: mrpotato

                                      They won't rise as much if you use add-ins. The ham will sink to the bottom. You can top the batter with shredded cheese, as per the giant popovers served at NYC steakhouse BLT - these were demonstrated on Martha Stewart. That recipe called for 2-1/2 oz Gruyere cheese atop cups that are filled to the TOP, then baking in a preheated 350 oven for 15 min, rotate pan and continue baking another 35 min. The cheese would burn at a higher temp and my guess is that having a fuller cup allows the batter to have enough lift to puff despite the weight of the cheese.

                                  2. I realize this is an older thread, but I remember that SOMEBODY on a TV cooking show, and I want to say Julia Child, advised using Wondra or other instantized/"pourable" flour for popovers. Cooks Illustrated says the size and shape of the pan doesn't matter and I tend to agree. I've used ramekins, regular and mini muffin tins, and a cast iron tin with deeper cups the same dimension as in a popover pan. For the mini-muffin ones I bake them at 375 for less than 20 minutes. A friend doesn't like her standard popover pan with the black cups because she says the black flakes off over time. I've used both the preheated and cold oven techniques - both work but I prefer the preheated by a small margin. I have subbed in whole wheat flour for half the white flour - tastes great but puffs to only half the size.

                                    1. I get great popovers, using the Joy of Cooking recipe, multiplied. I use regular old muffin pans, and spray them with whatever spray I have around. I mix up the batter, fill the cold muffin pans, and pop them in a preheated oven. I reduce the temp at some point, according to the recipe, and never peek. When the timer rings, I check them to see if they need more time. I have never had a failure! Made them at my mother's house, too, and they worked there. So use the Joy of Cooking recipe. And they're so easy!

                                      1. I got my information about popovers from a college cooking class. I am from Mississippi where nobody knows anything about popovers like, "What is a popover?" All the locals know how to make biscuits or corn bread, but popovers sound fancy or foreign. When I look at the popover recipes given, I see basically the same ingredients in pretty much the same proportions repeatedly. I mistakenly assumed that there were many ways to make popovers. So I planned to create something really new until I read all the comments found below. Because I own no all purpose flour or all purpose corn meal, I want to know if it is still a popover with self rising flour or corn meal. Do y'all have an answer for that?

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: 3sisterspassedby

                                          I'd say no, it's not. Popovers rise solely because of the egg, and have more of a crispy shell than a crust. They are practically hollow. It sounds as though you have not actually eaten one. Get yourself a bag of AP flour, or a canister of Wondra flour (very good for popovers and crepes since it won't clump).

                                          1. re: 3sisterspassedby

                                            Normally plain flour is used. I don't know if using self-rising flour would mess things up or not. A 2 egg recipe only calls for 1/2c of flour. A corn bread mix with half flour, half fine corn, might also work, though the texture will change a bit, and you might not get as much rise.

                                            A close relative to this is the Yorkshire pudding (savory), or Dutch Baby (sweet). The Yorkshire pudding is traditionally baked with the drippings of a roast, but I can imagine using bacon fat. If you don't have deep popover tins or muffin pan, these bake nicely in a cast iron skillet. A 2 egg, 1/2 c flour recipe fits a 10" skillet nicely. It will puff up (unevenly), and then collapse as it cools. Popovers don't collapse because they are smaller, and top is allowed to get harder, and self supporting. Yet another version is toad-in-the-hole, where the batter is poured over partially cooked sausages.

                                            The batter is similar to that used for crepes, but it is baked in a way that encourages the formation of large hollow pockets.

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              I have a electric oven so I cannot put the popovers in a cold oven as it lights up on top as it is heating up. I use the heated oven and it works well with the above FF recipe.

                                            2. re: 3sisterspassedby

                                              3sis, no, self-rising flour and plain flour are not interchangeable. Self-rising flour has baking powder and salt in it. Cornmeal of any sort cannot be used in popovers. You'll have to do as suggested and buy some AP flour (buy unbleached) if you want to make popovers!

                                            3. Okay folks, I have a really great tip to convey with regard to your popover. Check your ovens! For years, I made perfect popovers time and time again without problems. Well, along comes 2007. All of sudden, I can't make popovers to save my life. They're literally hockey-pucks. Horrible things! Well, I always used the exact same recipe. What could be the problem? I assumed it must have been me. There was no other logical solution.

                                              So, I proceed to try just about every other possible recipe to fix the problem. After all this, I still got nowhere. I couldn't figure out the problem. Now, I think of myself as a good cook. Christ, I can make puff pastry from scratch. Naturally, I was a little miffed. I actually gave up on making the things.

                                              Fast forward to this year. I got my courage up again, and I decided that I wasn't going to simply give up. Thankfully I didn't. I, again, tried out various popover recipes, but, again, I got hockey-pucks. This time, however, I really began to think of the problem in terms of external issues. I began to convince myself that the problem lay outside of my purview.

                                              After all, I made popovers, without once failing, for over a decade without issues. So, I began realize a connecting thread. The problems with my popovers started when I got a new Magic Chef combo oven. Sure enough, the entire problem was related to my bottom OVEN. Luckily, in my case, I have two ovens, one on top and one on the bottom.

                                              So, after all this fussing about, I realized the problem was always my OVEN. So, don't despair people! Your popover problems could simply be your oven. On a side note, I still haven't figured out exactly what the problem with my oven was or is. I put a thermometer in it, and it keeps accurate temperatures. It's, also, very well insulated in terms of the door. It's not letting the heat out. Anyway, the bottom line is that your oven could be the culprit. Beware!