These seem quite fancy, yet they are one of the fastest and simplest desserts. And even with a little ice cream and chocolate sauce, they are still light enough that you can eat several without feeling overwhelmed. Even though they are fast, popovers can be a bit finicky; we’ll have a few tips as we go along, but the first couple of times you make them, they might not pop.
Make absolutely sure that your ingredients are at room temperature. We measure out the milk and take out the egg and let them sit on the counter for about an hour. It really helps to make these babies pop.
Procedure in detail:
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F. If need be, you might have to let the oven cycle an additional time; you really want the oven hot.
Grease a six-hole popover pan. We are lucky enough to have a well-seasoned cast iron pan that works great. There are also special popover pans where the cups are well separated. If you have either one, great; use it. Otherwise, use a muffin tin. If it’s a 12-hole tin, grease alternating holes so that the oven heat will be able to get to the batter quickly.
Place the milk in a medium-sized container that has a pourable spout. We use a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup. It has a spout, it’s big enough for all the ingredients, and we can measure the milk, too.
Add the egg to the milk and whisk. We use a small whisk that seems just right for the job. A bigger whisk would be harder to use in the measuring cup. I think a fork would work, too, but it would require a bit more effort.
Add the salt, and whisk it around again. Again, just a pinch, maybe as much as 1/8 teaspoon, although the exact amount isn’t critical.
Now add in the half-cup flour and the pinch of baking powder. Note that we made the effort to measure out the flour carefully. It helps; you really want to measure the milk and flour correctly for popovers. As for measuring the flour, we fluff it up a bit in the bag, then scoop up a heaping half-cup, and level with the back of a knife.
Whisk, whisk whisk. Whisk until you have a smooth batter. About a minute. Now let the batter sit while the oven finishes heating (if you turned it on right when you greased the pan, it probably has about 5 more minutes before it’s completely hot).
Preheat the greased pan for 5 minutes. Place it in the oven so it can provide an instant blast of heat to the batter when it’s time to fill the pan. This is where the cast iron pan comes in really handy. The downside is sometimes you get burned handling the hot pan — the hazards of the kitchen.
Remove the pan and put a bit of butter in each of the greased compartments. It’s probably not completely necessary, but a bit of butter is always a good thing. It helps to prevent sticking, and it adds a bit of flavor.
Fill each popover compartment about half full. “Not too much, not too little, fill them right to the middle” is the phrase to remember. Too much and the popovers will flop. Too little they won’t get over the side of the pan and will look kind of sad.
Place the popovers in the center of the oven and bake at 450°F for 15 minutes. Do NOT open the oven door to check on their progress.
Lower the temperature to 350°F and bake another 15 minutes. Do NOT open the oven door to check the progress. (You can look through the oven window; popovers are not that sensitive).
Now the popovers should be popped over the edges of the pan. Remove from the pan at once so the steam inside won’t condense and make them soggy. Some people will make slits in the bottom with a sharp knife to allow the steam to escape. We don’t, but, as you see, we cut the bottom off so we can fill them with ice cream.
Cut off the bottom of each popover, and stuff with a bit of ice cream. A little more than a tablespoon of ice cream per popover is just about right. Put the bottom back on to seal, and then drizzle with some chocolate sauce (we had some homemade sauce just waiting in the fridge) and serve.
What a great little dessert. Simple enough that you can scratch it up anytime you want something a bit more fancy than just ice cream, and it looks like you spent hours slaving away in the kitchen. That’s the great thing about scratchin’; it’s really easy to put together something impressive and, more importantly, tasty.