Popovers for breakfast is a new thing for me and is fast becoming a weekend ritual. Coming from the UK, where we don’t have popover we have Yorkshire puddings. Thus being from Yorkshire popovers were destined to be close to my heart.
Yorkshire puddings can be served for all three courses. As a starter (appetizer) with onion gravy. Or for dessert with jam. Or most commonly as an accompaniment to a Sunday Roast.
I enjoy Yorkshire pudding with any kind of roast but there are some bizzare british rules around roasts:
- Roast Chicken tends to be served with sage and onion stuffing
- Roast Pork with crackling and apple sauce
- Only Roast Beef has the honour of being served with Yorkshire puddings
I’d serve both stuffing and Yorkshire pudding with every roast, embracing the power of AND.
Anyway I digress, popovers. Here is the recipe that has become our weekend ritual.
A word on flour: When the popovers have been an unmitigated disaster, the flour has been consistently at fault. Gluten free flours in general struggle to be popover-y as regular flour, and some are better than others. Flours with a higher proportion of starch will not be as good for this recipe. For popovers my GF flour of choice is Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking flour. The flour that didn’t work well was Pamela’s All Purpose, which has a higher proportion of tapioca starch. It does lend make a very good banana bread though (recipe to follow). You’ll know the flour is too starchy if these proportions of ingredients create a thick gooey batter.
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tbs earth balance butter
- Start by preheating the oven to 450F. While it is heating you can get the batter together.
- Start with the flour. Many Yorkshire pudding recipes stress that the flour has to be seived to get more air in it, feel free to experiment. I tend to just take a cup of it and put it in a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle for the eggs.
- I tend to beat the eggs the separately and then add them, but again no discernable difference. Once you add them to the flour just work them in with a fork or a whisk until you have a smooth batter.
- I heat the earth balance butter to melt it and add it at this point
- Then finally add the milk and whisk it until it is smooth, it should be the consistency of a light cream.
- Time to preheat the popover pan, I add a little canola oil (maybe a teaspoon) to the bottom and cooking spray around the sides. Put the pan in the preheated oven for 2 mins.
- Carefully take out the pan and add the batter, it should sizzle as you add it. I try to add the batter all in one go, see experimentation below, it is just under a half cup each.
- Carefully put it back in the oven without sloshing the batter around, and leave to cook for 30mins.
- Opening the oven during cooking is a big mistake, don't do it. Also by the same logic cooking popovers in an oven that doesn't seal well of keep a consistent temperature might be challenging.
- Hopefully 30mins later you'll have nicely risen golden looking popovers. Take them out of the oven and pry them out onto a rack to cool. They should come out pretty easily, if not experiment with the oil or cooking spray.
- Some times at this point it pierce the bottom or side of the pop over to allow the steam to come up, honestly I have no idea why, must be something I read somewhere. Maybe it is an attempt to stop them collapsing?
- Diana prefers her popovers with Jam, I tend to like a more savoury combo using some sliced turkey. We both would admit that our first choice would be some crispy bacon, or duck bacon depending on whether we are avoid pork or not. 2 each is a satisfying breakfast, which leaves 2 spare for snacking during the day.
Areas of experimentation:
Many recipes suggest that leaving the batter to rest for a while improves it. We ended up trying this once due to running out of time and coming back and making the popovers about 90mins later. They did come out great, but was it due to the resting, who knows. More experimentation required.
The area I have experimented with the most is the milk. Some recipes (including my grandmothers recipe for Yorkshire pudding) suggest adding a little water. I have tried this a few times and not noticed a big difference. We tend to use an unsweetened vanilla almond milk by Califia, but on occasion we have used the regular vanilla almond milk and the added sweetness seemed to result in a tastier pop over. We have also tried adding a little soy or coconut creamer, that is what I did for this latest batch, which you can see in the photo above.
If you tend to enjoy savoury popovers, adding herbs to the recipe is a good source of experimentation. Sage in particular I have found to create some delicious variants in the past.
Futher research indicated that the protein in the flour is responsible for how well the popovers rise. Also that resting the batter is essential to allow the protein to soften. That may explain why resting the gf batter mix made little difference, as gf flour is low in protein.
Another area to look into is the milk, regular milk vs non dairy milks reportedly is the biggest differential in the amount of rise.
Update (2nd April 2017):
I thought I had the magic formula a few months ago, Silk’s original soy milk was creating some beautiful looking popovers. Then suddenly it wasn’t. When searching for the elusive answer to this question I stumbled across this post. Worth a shot? Just a bit, suffice to say coconut milk is now a regular feature on our Alexa powered shopping list.