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May 11, 2012 07:56 AM


I make popovers at home and they come out great. They rise beautifully, but then I put them on the counter and I can watch as they shrink. From double the size of the cup they come down to hardly rising above the top of the cup. Why is that and what can I do about it? Any ideas?

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  1. I think you duplicated this post:

    They may be under baked. The crust should be well browned, not just lightly browned. You also want to be sure that you don't open the oven door during the bake. Opening the oven will easily reduce oven temperature by as much as twenty five degrees and they aren't in the oven long enough for the oven to recover after the door is opened and closed.

    3 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Hi Todao, I did while trying to get it right. I think I changed it by a word or two about 3 times. Obvously, I'm a novice. But I did get your answer and I appreciate the help. But, as I wrote to you -- and I have no idea if it was actually sent or not -- I cook the popovers at 450º for 20 minutes in a closed oven. After that, they are very well browned. If I leave them for longer, I fear they will burn. They shrink a lot faster than they rise. Abba

      1. re: abbarubin

        Do you leave them in the baking tin to cool or popping them out of the tin to cool on a rack?
        Because the temperature shock when taking them from the oven and exposing them to room temperature can cause them to fall, I sometimes leave them in the oven (oven turned off and the door open - just ajar about 1/3 of its full open position) to cool.

        1. re: todao

          Aha! That may be it. I take them out right away. I noticed that as soon as I open the door they start on their downward sojourn. I'll just turn off the oven and after a minute I'll just open the door and after two more minutes I'll take them out and then? and then? and then we'll see. Wonderful advice, Todao. Thanks. Abba

    2. I just made some using the King Arthur mix (followed the instructions to the letter...maybe baking ever-so-slightly longer), and they turned out great. The only problem I had was getting them out of the muffin pan...took a little bit of prying, but it didn't hurt them at all.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jbsiegel

        Hi Jbsiegel, I spray the inside of the cups with a very quick spray of pam and the popovers just about pop out. When I turn the pan over gently they just roll out. I use my own recipe -- I do that with all kinds of things; that's most of the fun for me -- but maybe if I let them sit a bit longer they won't shrink. Right now it's like wool in hot water; shriiiiink. But a little extra time might do it. I just don't want to burn them.

        1. re: abbarubin

          I read somewhere not to use Pam for popovers...something about them needing to adhere a little better to the sides of the pan in order to rise properly (clearly mine did!)

          1. re: jbsiegel

            If you'd rather not use pam, use canola oil. It'll just make the popovers come out easier. I've used pam a half dozen times and the popovers rise beautifully. I wish the pam or something would keep mine from shrinking. I don't think it's reasonable to suppose the pam allows them to shrink where otherwise they wouldn't, but just for curiosity, I think I'll coat the cups with canola oil next time... but I can't see why that would make a difference. Oh well, it's something to try. Apparently, only mine shrink. 

      2. Be sure your oven is as hot as you think it is. I use Ina Garten's recipe (easy to google) and am happy with it.

        7 Replies
        1. re: blue room

          You know, I've never checked to see how accurate my oven is. I have an oven thermometer; I guess I'll check. But the popovers rise wonderfully; it's the shrinking that troubles me. If the temperature were off, I don't think that would make them shrink. But I could see how that could actually happen. I'll check. Thanks for the thought.

          1. re: abbarubin

            So, what is the recipe you're using? Let's look at that and see if there's a clue.

            1. re: todao

              Hi again todao. The recipe is simple:
              3 egg whites—no yoke – jumbo eggs (60 cal)
              1 cup skim milk (90 cal)
              1 cup all purpose flour. (148 gr.) (542.6 cal)
              1 level tsp kosher salt
              2 tsp canola oil (80 cal)
              1 tbs vanilla

              Everything works well except that they shrink after rising so nicely. I think I'll try piercing them and leaving them a bit longer. If burning is a problem, I will lower the temperature to 400º after 5 minutes. If I still have trouble, I try the canola oil instead of pam -- though I'm skeptical about that.

              1. re: abbarubin

                Most recipes use whole eggs and whole milk.

                1. re: sandylc

                  Of course, you're right, Sandylc, they do. And the results are good. I have several criteria for all the food I prepare (fish, meat, breads, buns, soup etc.). At least in theory: it must be good (not "good considering...," but flat out good); it must be good for you; it must be relatively low in calories; and in my case, it must be kosher. The theory's great and my wife says she loves the results (if she were to say otherwise, she'd do the cooking again). Whether I really succeed or not, I'm too biased to say. But that explains why I use egg white,(and it works) and I use skim milk (and that works). It's just that the popovers shrink. They rise well, and they don't collapse; they just shrink when I take them out of the oven. -- Abba

                2. re: abbarubin

                  This batter is similar to that used for crepes, Yorkshire Pudding and Dutch Baby (and Toad in the Hole).

                  Traditionally the Pudding was baked in a large pan, using drippings from the Sunday roast. Though in a restaurant it is likely to be baked in individual portions, in effect popovers. Dutch Baby, a sweet version, usually calls for a lot of melted butter in the hot pan, however CI recommended putting the butter in the batter, and just a bit of oil in the pan. I mention these variations to show that many of the details that popover recipes have may, or may not be important.

                  1. re: paulj

                    It's always interesting to learn the history and use of various recipes. Of course, right now I'm concentrating on finding a way to prevent my popovers from shrinking. I've had some good suggestions that I'll try either today or tomorrow. I certainly am not one to know the relative importance of specific ingredients or techniques. Thanks for the information.

          2. Alton Brown says to pierce the popovers with a knife to let the steam escape. I do that about five minutes before I take them from the oven. I do tend to cook mine for for about thirty minutes, though, and turn the oven down to 400 after about five minutes so they don't brown too much.

            4 Replies
            1. re: bear

              Aha, important things to think about. Piercing them might let the outside air in. The problem could be unequal pressure. And lowering the temperature after about 5 minutes...hmmm. Things to try. Thanks bear. Something's sure to work.

              1. re: bear

                I was JUST going to mention this...

                1. re: jbsiegel

                  Yes, yes? To mention? To mention what?

                  1. re: abbarubin

                    Piercing them to let the steam out...

              2. 2 issues -
                when taken out of the oven they need to be done enough to be self supporting. The top needs to be stiff, even if the insides are tender

                and they need to be punctured, so that condensing steam inside does not create a vacuum, which would otherwise pull the tops down.

                3 Replies
                1. re: paulj

                  Hi Paulj. That sounds about right. The stiffness must be there, but how does one manage that? Hopefully the piercing will do it. I'll know tomorrow I think. This has all the tension of a fictional murder mystery. I think the plot has reached its denouement and the mystery is solved...I hope so anyway. I'll see if there are any surprising twists. Thanks. Abba

                  1. re: abbarubin

                    As far as the stiffness, I definitely cook mine longer than I would a dinner roll or something. The outsides are quite brown when I remove them from the oven.

                    1. re: jbsiegel

                      Well, I'm optimistic. Tomorrow I'll get a chance to try again. In any case they always taste good. But, of course, I want them to be what popovers are supposed to be. Thanks everyone.