There is virtually no difference between a popover and a Yorkshire pudding, the ubiquitous accompaniment to roast beef throughout the British Isles. There are, however, many variations on the theme, and this one combines the unexpected crunch of polenta with the aroma of cinnamon, a smell that seems to shout “Breakfast!” For a quick morning preparation, the batter may be made up the night before. All else that’s needed is coffee, juice, and perhaps a warm apple compote.
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup polenta or coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Small pinch of white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup and 2 tablespoons milk or half milk and half water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Whipped butter and fruit preserves, for garnish (optional)
- Apple Compote (recipe follows) (optional)
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup unfiltered apple juice, or more as needed
- Sugar as needed
IN A BLENDER, combine the eggs, flour, polenta, salt, pepper, and cinnamon and blend briefly. Slowly add the milk and blend until completely smooth. Cover the blender and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
PLACE ½ TEASPOON of the melted butter in the bottom of each cup of a 12-cup nonstick muffin or popover pan. If you are not using a nonstick pan, spray or brush the muffin cups with vegetable oil before adding the butter. Place the pan in a cold oven and heat it to 400°F.
WHEN THE FAT IS VERY HOT (take care that the butter doesn’t brown), return the blender to its base and blend again briefly. Pour an equal amount of the batter into each cup, filling each one halfway.
BAKE FOR 30 TO 35 MINUTES, or until the popovers are well risen and golden. Do not open the oven door during the first so minutes of the cooking time or the popovers may fall.
SERVE HOT, accompanied by butter and preserves, if desired, or apple compote, if desired.
For the Compote:
Peel and core the apples and cut them into ½-inch chunks. In a medium saucepan, combine the apples with the lemon zest, lemon juice, and enough apple juice to barely cover them. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Add sugar to taste, if desired, and stir over the heat until the sugar has dissolved. Serve warm.
Nutritional information is based on 12 servings,using all milk, and does not include sugar in the compote.