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I’ve been going back and forth on when to share my go-to popover recipe with everyone. The airy treat is the inspiration behind Popover (the site), but it also holds a more meaningful memory for me. When I was younger, every Christmas my mom, dad, and I would go out to a holiday lunch and pick out one new ornament for the tree. This was always a fun event because it meant going to a lavishly decorated department store where we all had to get a little dressed up for the occasion. The restaurant we always went to served big fluffy popovers with sides of butter and raspberry jam. You had to wait for them to come by the table because they were served fresh from the oven and you could never ask for another unless you planned on not eating an actual entree that day. These popovers seemed like an exotic thing that could never be made at home, but when my mom passed down her heavy cast iron popover tins to me I felt confident enough to test the recipe. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they really took no time at all to make and consisted of a batter with four ingredients. The mystery of the bread was revealed and instantly that unapproachable side seemed casual enough to serve at home. The thought behind Popover is to create something that is approachable yet unique, like comparing toast at breakfast to a warm popover instead, both take the same effort, but one is infinitely more memorable and discovering I could make these at home was the key.

I first served popovers for a family Christmas Eve dinner. The batter can be made ahead of time then left on the counter to reach room temperature. All that is left to do is heat the pans, pour the batter, then shut the oven for exactly 30 minutes without opening the oven door. I peeked probably every 5 minutes, using the oven light, to make sure they were actually puffing. I imagined horror stories of people making souffles only to see them turn into airless disks, me walking to the table with an apologetic face and sliced bread as an offering. Luckily the results weren’t nearly as dire as I opened the oven door to find the little golden explosions of eggy dough had set into their mismatched shaped just like they had in the restaurant. This is where the Popover inspiration really came together in my mind as an everyday luxury, something easy yet gourmet, served to guests as a special offering during a casual gathering with friends and family.

I always turn to this popover recipe and it has yet to fail me, but I’ve found a few shortcuts and tips to make them my own.:

  • First, don’t worry about actually reaching in to butter the pans, just spray them with a cooking spray before filling with  batter (after the pans have warmed).
  • Rather than waiting for the ingredients to reach room temperature, make the batter ahead and leave it on the counter while you prepare the rest of the food that day.
  • To make a quick spread mix honey and softened butter together to accompany the popovers. Butter mixed with jam works too.
  • Invest in real popover pans. You can use ramekins, but it’s all about the shape with these…tiny cylinder bottom and an over-sized explosion on top.
  • Lastly, you must follow the baking instructions! 2 min. to pre-warm the pans, then 30 min. to bake, it’s foolproof.

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Photos by HMN Photography