welcome to the learning curve…this week’s lesson is brought to you by tuesdays with dorie/baking with julia and is hosted by none other than paula of vintage kitchen notes and amy of bake with amy. the subject of this week’s lesson is popovers. sounds simple enough but don’t let that cute name fool you; many cooks and bakers have been schooled by these seemingly easy to bake puffs of crispy deliciousness. and it looks like i am just another name on that list…
a quick note from one of our sponsors: to find the recipe, please consider buying the book, baking with julia. consider it a way to keep her memory alive after all, it would have been her 100th birthday last week! if not, visit either paula’s or amy’s blog page to find the complete recipe and then bake a batch in memory of julia!
first of all, let me say that i didn’t want to make just plain white flour popovers, i wanted to add a whole grain to the mix since i have a fridge full of flours to choose from, literally. and i also have a husband wanting me to use up said flours in the fridge-not sure why he is in such a hurry, what could he possibly want with the space??? anyway, i grabbed the buckwheat flour and was off and running. next came the realization that i had absolutely no milk in the house other than unsweetened soy milk, it was that or nothing. i don’t own a popover pan although i would love to have a large one and a small one (because if you are going to go for it, go all the way! who’s with me on that?)
batch number 1: can you say disaster? i can only say it sounds more like “$#*@, i’m going to have to make another batch!” all the while my husband rolls his eyes and walks out of the room muttering his fool proof methods and the “i never heard of using soy milk” comments(what do you expect from a chef?) i used a 50-50 split on the flour and soy milk for the whole milk. i also placed my muffin pans on sheet pans and heated them first; one of those “fool proof methods” my husband swears by and another is to use the fat of the animal you are serving them with-beef, pork, etc. we were having them with salad, i used cooking spray.
batch number 2: wow, look at the difference. this time around, i used a ratio of 2 parts white flour to 1 part buckwheat (2/3 cup white, 1/3 cup buckwheat) and for the milk, i used 1/4 cup half and half and 3/4 cup soy milk. this time around, i used a heavy duty muffin pan that has 24 cups in it and i did not heat it; it went into the oven cold and filled with room temperature batter.
look at the difference between the batches. number 1 on the left, number 2 on the right. the ratio of whole grain makes a difference as does the heat. so forget about preheating the pans, don’t bother with placing them on sheet pans (unless you are using individual cups) because it prevents good heat circulation and place the oven rack in the top third of the oven.
inside view of batch number 1; the walls are thick and sections were not even hollow but rather cake-like, dense and rubbery and eggy cake, um, eeww.
inside view of batch number 2; thinner, crispier walls with less eggy-cakey parts in the middle.
can you tell which ones were part of batch number 1? just look for the hockey pucks. they will be going out to the possums tonight. as for batch number 2, they were individually wrapped and frozen for the next time i am in need of a little something to fill a menu. and if you must know, i left them sitting on the counter unwrapped all night and they didn’t get soft-they were still crispy in the morning!
and so ends this week’s lesson. yes, i have been schooled on popovers and i am now eager to move on to something less complicated…many thanks to this week’s hosts, paula and amy and a big round of applause to this weeks newest sponsor-my new oven! and last but certainly not least, happy birthday to julia!