Popovers are often made simply with flour, eggs, and milk, without butter, but butter not only adds its unmistakably good flavor, it also improves the texture. These popovers, crisp on the outside and almost cake-like spongy on the inside, are incredibly tender and delicious, and they also have something very special to recommend them: unlike regular popover batter, which must be mixed at least two hours before baking, these can go straight into the oven immediately after mixing! They are good as a dinner roll or a brunch treat with butter and preserves. They can even be baked several hours ahead and recrisped just before serving.
Pointers For Success:
In place of Wondra flour, you can use 1 cup/5 ounces/145 grams (measured by dip-and-sweep) bleached all-purpose flour (use only Gold Medal or Pillsbury). In that case, mix 2 tablespoons of the melted butter with the flour mixture before adding the milk, refrigerate the batter for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours before baking.
If you would like to make only half a batch, fill any empty popover or muffin cups with water. This creates steam, which will help the popovers rise. If you leave the cups empty, the heat is drawn more to them than to the filled cups, slowing the baking and decreasing the rise.
Wondra flour is a granular form of flour developed in the 1960s by General Mills. It is equal in protein content to bleached all-purpose flour but dissolves instantly in liquid because it has been subjected to a process called agglomeration (also used to make instant coffee powder and powdered milk). It is produced essentially by misting flour with water and then spray-drying it with compressed air, which separates the flour into particles of even size and shape that will not clump together when mixed with liquid. That even absorption of the liquid is what makes it possible to bake these popovers immediately after mixing the batter.
There is no chemical leavening in this batter. Leavening is provided by the egg and also by the steam from the milk as it heats in the oven.
The dough percentage:
Water: 188% (includes the water in the milk, butter, and egg whites)
Fat: 45% (includes the fat in the milk and the egg yolks)
6 large (about 4 inches high) popovers or 12 small ones (muffin size)
Cooking Time1 min
Cooking Time - Text60
Total Timeunder 2 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party
Recipe Courseside dish
Dietary Considerationside dish
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturebuttery, chewy, crisp
Type of Dishbread, rolls
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (measured by shaking from container into cup)/about 5 ounces/145 grams Wondra flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 liquid cup/ 8.5 ounces/ 242 grams whole milk
- 3 fluid ounces eggs/ 3.5 ounces (weighed without shells)/ 100 grams (weighed without shells)
- 4 tablespoons, divided/2 ounces/56 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled but still liquid
- A 6-cup popover pan OR 12-cup mini popover pan (if using black metal, lower the initial 425°F to 400°F) OR a 12-cup standard muffin pan
Oven Temperature: 425°F
Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F 30 minutes before baking. Set a rack on the second rung from the bottom.
Mix the batter. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Using a whisk, slowly stir in the milk. Continuing with the whisk or using a hand-held electric or rotary beater, add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beating until the batter is smooth. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. (Small lumps of butter will remain visible.) Transfer the batter to a pitcher. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours; beat lightly before pouring the batter into the pans.
Prepare the pan. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in each of the 6 popover cups. Or, if using the muffin pan, use ½ teaspoon in each cup, use a small pastry feather or brush to coat the entire interior of the pan with a little of this melted butter.
Three to 5 minutes before baking, place the popover or muffin pan in the oven to heat until the butter is very hot and beginning to brown (don’t allow it to burn). Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on the rack under the tin to catch any bubbling fat.
Fill the pan and bake the popovers. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter on the hot butter, filling the cups half-full. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes for the large popovers, 20 to 25 minutes for the muffin-sized ones. They will pop well above the sides of the popover or muffin cups, rising to about three times their original height.
Ten minutes before the end of the baking time, release the steam. Open the oven door and quickly make a small slit in the side of each raised popover to release the steam and allow the centers to dry out more.
Cool the popovers slightly. With pot holders, gently lift out the popovers one at a time, holding each one from the top, and set them on a wire rack to cool slightly. If you are not ready to serve them, they can be cooled to room temperature, then reheated later on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven, for 5 minutes. The crisp outer shell will keep them from collapsing.
Yorkshire Popovers Substitute an equal amount of rendered beef fat for the butter.
2003 Rose Levy Beranbaum