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Anyone Ever Try Par-Baking Popovers? (Can it be done?)

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Ms.chef Nov 14, 2011 10:23 PM

Trying to juggle food times and temperatures is HARD!

I will be making a 2lb boneless leg of lamb. That will take less than an hour plus no more than 20 mins. to rest.

I want to serve Popovers with this meal. But popovers take 40mins with the first 20mins at 400! I can't cook it with the lamb and there is no time to bake them when the lamb comes out.

Could I cook them for 20 mins (at 400) and then take them out of the oven and then put them back in when the lamb comes out? ... What if I just take 5 mins off the total time and then just pop them back in for 5 mins to "reheat" .... etc. etc.

Would any of those ideas work?

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    Chefjimjam RE: Ms.chef Nov 14, 2011 10:34 PM

    You cannot par-cook popovers. The structure of the dough is built around the steam created from that first 20 minutes, the second half maintaining it without burning the outside. Stopping halfway will destroy that beautiful shape. You'd be better off cooking them fully, then refreshing them in the oven for 10 minutes while the leg rests. OR even better... Cook your leg first, then the popovers. While the popovers round the last 10 minutes in the oven, put the leg back in to get up to heat. You'll have an amazingly rested hot lamb, and perfect popovers.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Chefjimjam
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      Ms.chef RE: Chefjimjam Nov 14, 2011 11:00 PM

      Thanks ... I'm more of a cook than a baker.

      I suspected as much, but wasn't sure.

      What about taking them out 5 mins early (like I asked in my original post) and then popping them back in? I think that might work ...

      1. re: Ms.chef
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        Chefjimjam RE: Ms.chef Nov 15, 2011 12:08 PM

        You're welcome to try, but I really think your popovers would collapse without that last five minutes, or you'll have dense spots. If you cook them fully, then put them back in to warm it will be like they are fresh. The par cooking thing works with bread because of the way gluten networks are formed, whereas with popovers its the exact opposite, meaning you deliberately do NOT create gluten networks so that big pocket is formed in the center because of steam.

        Also, If I can iterate my second idea of cooking the leg first. I do 6-course private dinners in the restaurant, and last week I did a 5 pound, stuffed leg of lamb. I roasted the leg an hour before the dinner started and let it rest. When it was time for entrees I popped the leg in the oven for 10 minutes and then the broiler to crust; the table nearly cried because it was so tender and some of them never had lamb.

        1. re: Chefjimjam
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          Ms.chef RE: Chefjimjam Nov 15, 2011 05:04 PM

          That is a good idea - but I would be more afraid of over cooking the lamb. I guess if you are only talking 10 mins it really wouldn't raise the temp. ... Is it ok to open the oven door with the popovers?

          1. re: Ms.chef
            sarahjay RE: Ms.chef Nov 15, 2011 08:50 PM

            no way. Opening the door deflates them quickly, as I have to remind my brother EVERY time I make them. He always wants to peek inside and smell them, but they don't turn out when he does :)

            1. re: sarahjay
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              Ms.chef RE: sarahjay Nov 16, 2011 07:42 PM

              That is what I thought ... so I can't take Chefjimjam's advice and put the lamb back in with 10mins to go on the popovers. (He seeme to be a professional and may know a trick that I don't - but I don't want to risk it)

              I guess reheating is my only option

              1. re: Ms.chef
                greygarious RE: Ms.chef Nov 17, 2011 08:07 PM

                Better to reheat the rested lamb briefly than to reheat the popovers, I think. If you cover the roasted lamb as it rests, it will still be quite warm after the 40 min the popovers will take. Then put the lamb back in, crank up the heat to 400 or more, or broil, and pull the lamb after 2-3 minutes. By the time you have the popovers out of their pan, the lamb will be hot.

    2. greygarious RE: Ms.chef Nov 15, 2011 12:19 PM

      You could do the high heat part of the popover baking, then after lowering the temp add the lamb to the oven. Your popovers will come out of the oven with the lamb still needing about 30 minutes. Prick the popovers with a skewer to allow the steam to escape, then let them sit in their pan. Once the lamb is out of the oven resting, return the popovers to the turned-off oven to rewarm them for 5 minutes or so just before serving.

      If it helps you in any way, use Marion Cunningham's cold oven start popovers. Second recipe on this link: http://www.wgbh.org/cainan/article/?i...

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious
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        petitgateau RE: greygarious Nov 16, 2011 08:17 PM

        Fwiw, I have made popovers (cooked fully) and reheated the leftovers the next day. They become crunchy again in the oven and taste pretty similar to fresh.

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