Popover refers to a light, hollow bread roll generally made from a flour-egg batter quite similar to the Yorkshire pudding. It is usually baked in standard muffin tins, giving it the characteristic shape and sponginess.
Popovers can be served -
· either as dessert or sweet snack, topped with some fresh fruit and whipped cream, or
· as breakfast topped with jam or preserve, or
· as such with afternoon tea, or
· in the form of bread along with meats like roast beef at lunch and dinner
Thus, we see that Popovers are quite versatile in their culinary usage.
The name “Popover” arises from the fact that batter ‘pops’ over the top of the muffin tin as the mixture cooks and swells up due to the air build up within at the time of the baking process. It is also called ‘Laplander’ in some parts of the world.
The Popover is believed to be the American counterpart of the British Yorkshire Pudding and other such batter-based puddings. These were probably first formulated in the 17th century after which there have been many modifications to the original version. The Popovers find mention in many popular cookbooks published during the course of the 18th century.
Classic Popover Recipe
All the ingredients must attain room temperature at the time of use.
- eggs, at room temperature
- whole milk, at room temperature
- all-purpose flour
In a small bowl, eggs are beaten thoroughly until light, lemon colored and foamy. Measured amount of milk is added and mixed well. The mixture of flour and salt is slowly folded in and then beaten using the egg beater until blended well and the batter turns smooth and foamy. Finally, this batter is poured into individual greased custard cups or greased muffin tin till the filling is only about 2/3rd full. This is to leave space to allow the batter to rise as it bakes.
Baking in a pre-heated oven is continued until the popovers rise up high, turn hollow, and attain a rich deep golden brown color. These are then ready to be served piping hot with cream or butter.
- Too much egg yolk tends to prevent the popovers from rising.
- Low-fat or skim milk may be used but the baking temperature must be turned down by 25 degrees and baking time reduced by at least a couple of minutes in order to avoid burning.
- Ingredients used must be at room temperature so that the batter formed is also at the same temperature. This way the popovers tend to rise better.
- It is essential to pre-heat the oven to desired temperature. Another important step is to leave the popovers inside the oven until the sides are firm and crusty. In case they are removed from the oven too quickly, they may collapse and lose shape.
- It is important to remember that popovers are leavened by steam. Heat is needed for them to rise sufficiently. In case the oven is opened in between, heat escapes out, the oven cools down, and the steam within the popovers condenses, thus, resulting in their collapse.
- Before storing in a container, they need to cool down completely, for if they are sealed when still hot, steam condenses inside the container and makes the popovers soggy and mushy.
A serving size of one popover ~ 75-80 g would supply-
· 120 calories
· 2.7 g total fat
· 74 mg cholesterol
· 234 mg sodium
· 17.9 g total carbohydrates with 0.6 g dietary fibre
· 5.6 g protein
There are numerous possibilities with a versatile dish such as Popovers. They may be served as such to be consumed along with a cup of hot tea or coffee. They may be topped with cream and special toppings or they may slit and the hollow space filled with various interesting stuffings to make for a quick snack.
Toppings commonly used on popovers include jam, butter, whipped cream, maple syrup, peanut butter or honey and so on.
Sometimes, the popovers may be slit open and fillings put in, such as fruit, vegetables, meat or cheese.
Types of Popovers
Although the popover is basically a puffed up muffin or bread with a hollow center typically made using a batter of flour, salt, eggs and milk, it may be broadly categorised into sweet and savory varieties.
- Coffee Chocolate Pecan Popovers combining interesting flavors of chocolate and coffee together.
- Lemon Popovers which use lemon juice and lemon zest in the batter for a tangy fresh flavor.
- Apple Popover Pancake in which slices of cinnamon flavoured stewed apple pieces form the soft, custard-like interior of a golden brown crisp popover pancake exterior.
- Orange-Cinnamon Almond Popovers with the freshness of oranges, the subtle sweetness of cinnamon and the crunch of almond slivers in between.
- Almond Popovers with rich crunchy finely sliced almonds providing a good bite to the warm soft and fluffy popovers.
- Lemon Cranberry Popovers are a delicate dessert or even breakfast food served with a whipped lemon cream topping garnished with a couple of fresh cranberries.
- Strawberry Popovers with Romanoff Sauce are popovers flavored with strawberry puree cooked in a rum base for that distinctive flavor.
- Basil and Parmesan Popovers make use of these two distinctive ingredients to produce an interesting snack.
- Garlic Cheddar Paprika Popovers with the potent combination of these flavorful ingredients for a cheesy, spicy treat.
- Herb and Vegetable Popovers including fresh or dry herbs with vegetables like minced carrots, pumpkin, beans, tomatoes, bell peppers etc.
- Creamy Chicken Mushrooms Popovers with shredded boiled chicken, cheese and herbs cooked in a rich mushroom sauce.
- Minced Meat and Celery Popovers in which ground beef may be flavored with fresh celery, pepper and other spices to make a filling snack.
Popovers can be made healthier in the following ways-
- Date & Walnut Popovers are nutrient dense with fibre, iron, potassium, copper, manganese from dates; Vitamin E and plenty of minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and potent antioxidant ellagic acid, which protects from free radical damage coming from walnuts.
- Whole-Wheat Walnut Popovers made using whole wheat flour, crushed walnuts, egg whites and skim-milk that are all healthful ingredients that provide proteins, omega-3 fats, folate, B-vitamins and much more.
- Blueberry Popover made using antioxidant rich blueberries that are also a good source of nutrients like folic acid, phosphorus, iron and copper as well as fiber.
- Herb Lemon Popovers in which lemon zest and chopped fresh thyme and fresh ground pepper are used as flavouring agents. These help increase the Vitamin C, fiber content along with other mineral nutrients and provide essential oils that prove beneficial to health in many ways.
- Gluten-free Flour Popovers may be slightly chewier than the regular popover but quite close in terms of taste. In fact, these have a very nutty flavor owing to the use of a combination of almond flour and flax seed meal. These are very high in quality proteins, Vitamin E and many minerals.