You can make up the batter beforehand for this little snack, go out, run a few errands, then come back and quickly pop it into the oven. In a few minutes, you’ll something akin to fresh, cheesy bread: Parmigiano Popovers. We made up the batter for these this past Monday, when we headed out for our downtown walk (it takes place right around dinner time); we knew we’d be wanting a light snack when we got home.
We’ll be printing the full recipe, the one that makes 12 popovers, but we only made a third of that amount, enough for six small popovers. That’s one of the things we like best about scratchin’; you can make the amount you want, not the amount the box makes.
This recipe comes from The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen: Celebrating Cheese in 90 Recipes, by Chester Hastings, and we didn’t change it, except to use sour cream instead of the fromage blanc. We think you might be able to use plain yogurt in place of the fromage blanc, too.
Fromage blanc is a fresh cheese with a slightly tart taste. In the past, we’ve found some in the Whole(ly cow, that’s expensive) Foods store; it wasn’t all that different from yogurt or sour cream, especially when used for baking. Eggs: remember, happy hens lay the best eggs, and it’s getting easy to find great eggs at farmers’ markets. Try them once and you’ll never go back. And, remember, in Italy, people would draw back in horror if you brought forth a green cylinder and tried to pass it off as Parmesan, so don’t subject your family to it, either; get the real deal.
Procedure in detail:
Whisk flour and yeast. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yeast and flour. Believe it or not, you’re almost finished.
Add everything else. Now stir in the remaining ingredients. It takes longer to measure everything than to stir it in, doesn’t it? So keep this recipe in mind when you need a quick bread quickly.
Rest. Let the batter stand for at least 30 minutes. We covered ours and placed it in the fridge, because we were going to be gone for several hours. It keeps our cat from tasting the batter while we’re gone.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and lightly grease 12 cups in a muffin tin.
Divide and bake. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 cups (we found that a tablespoon worked well), then bake until the popovers are puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
We expected these to be more like popovers, but, instead, they turned out like a light quick bread. That isn’t a bad thing; it’s just that the name is a bit misleading. When we make popovers, they really pop, easily tripling or quadrupling in size, but these, let’s just call them quick breads, perhaps doubled in size. They were good, but they didn’t have a huge amount of cheese flavor; however, that’s partly because it’s harder to taste flavors in hot food. We actually think that if you want Parmesan popovers, you’d be better off making popovers, and just topping them with grated cheese before and after baking. That’s something to try another day. As quick breads go, these were good, and we’ll keep them in mind when we need something quick and tasty to go along with dinner. Four stars.