It’s still fall so I’m still all about the pumpkin and squash. Popovers are an eggy bread, similar to Yorkshire pudding. They’ve been around since the 1800s. Yorkshire pudding was one of the first breads developed when wheat became popular. To me, they taste highly reminiscent of French toast. They’re called popovers because the steam from the eggy bread causes the crust to rise over the pan, hence they “pop over” the pan.
If you are watching carbs, you know French toast is a no-no. French toast has 36 carbs. Popovers have the same amount of carbs as a dinner roll (both have 14 grams of carbs). They are still not low carb, but a popover is a decadent treat that would pair well with a low carb meal. To me, a popover is a lot more filling than a roll, and it has more protein. I’m not specifically low carb, but I do try to watch my bread intake.
It amazed me the first time I baked a popover. It seems like they don’t have any leavening ingredients. How the heck do they rise? Unlike quick breads or yeasted breads, it’s the steam that makes them rise. When you make this batter, you’ll notice that the batter is thinner and runnier than most breads. The liquid content of the batter produces lots of steam. Eggs act as part of the liquid, but that’s not the only reason there are so many eggs. The egg protein also acts an emulsifier, protecting the batter from tearing when it stretches. The egg protein and the gluten in the dough act like a balloon, stretching and filling with the air from the steam. The middle of a popover is air, so it’s mostly hollow. Eggs help create a nice brown crust on top too.
Knowing that, you can see that gluten is important in making the pop of a popover. That is why low carb or gluten free popovers taste ok, but don’t pop as high. The gluten helps create the “balloon.” I have made them with Atkins flour mix (you could probably use CarbQuick too, but I have no experience) when I was experimenting with it. I think they turned out better than some breads do when you use low carb mix. Atkins mix tends to make really dry breads, but popovers are already moist because of all the eggs. My Atkins popovers didn’t pop as much as ones using regular flour, but they did pop a little and tasted great. Just sub the flour in the recipe below for equal parts of Atkins mix.
Heat is also important, as it develops the steam. I use a specialized popover pan. It looks like an elongated muffin pan separated with rods. Those rods allow lots of space between the popovers so heat can move freely around them. You can also use ramekins or regular muffin pans. Just be sure not to fill whatever pan you use more than 1/2 to 2/3rds full of mix. These things will make a mess in your oven. I put a cookie sheet under my popover pan just in case.
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease your popover pan, ramekin or muffin pan. Use whatever kitchen oil or spray you like best.
- I always put my pan on top of the oven while it’s preheating. They pop better if the pan is warm, but I haven’t really found much of a different between setting my pan on top of the oven and “preheating” the pan as some recipes suggest.
- Put all of the ingredients in a food processor, mixer or blender (I use a blender) and mix until smooth (easy).
- The pumpkin popovers don’t pop as much as plain popovers, so fill your cups ⅔ full of mix (should make 6 if you’re using a popover pan).
- Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Remove the popovers and pierce each in the top with a knife to allow the steam to escape.
- They should be easy to remove from the pan, and they are best served warm.
Want plain popovers? Alton Brown has the recipe I always use as a base. These can made sweet, savory or whatever. A little cinnamon in them makes them taste almost exactly like French Toast. I bet cinnamon would be good in these pumpkin ones too.
|Plain popovers pop even more than this.|