We have plenty of recipes worth sharing here at the farm, but sometimes the back story is a bit harder for us to come up with. This isn’t one of those times. These popovers are a truly delightful dish (are any popovers bad?), but the story that comes with them is one of our favorites. It goes back to summer…
…when we visited a friend in Washington DC. We were on our way to Williamsburg, but stopped in DC so the boys could visit the Smithsonian and see the monuments, Capital and White House. Our hotel was near the White House and we looked online to find a nearby restaurant that both our friend and our kids would like. We quickly found BLT Steak, one of Laurent Tourondel’s steakhouses. BLT is something of a chain, but they do a very good job. We figured it would be a fun night.
And it was great night, but with a bit of a surprise. When we arrived, a bunch of sunglass-wearing security with USA pins sat at the door. They said we could come in, but we were lightly (but politely) frisked and checked for metal. We asked “who is in there”? They “couldn’t say” but smiled ever so slightly. So we went in, met our friend and the host sat us right behind the VIP, who was having a calm dinner with her friend.
But it turns out that sitting two hungry preteen boys behind the VIP was a great idea (and one probably made from experience). Our boys found out who it was, and said “cool”, but really couldn’t care less (we were pretty geeked-up). What our boys did care about was their steaks and these popovers. The popovers were huge and rich, but also had a crisp, cheesy exterior and light texture that none of us could resist. The boys even asked “can we make these at home”?
Happily, these popovers are so popular that BLT Steak gives out the recipe with each order. Excellent. And this is a very solid, if somewhat traditional, popover recipe. The only surprise is that these popovers use very little added fat, except that of the Gruyère cheese. But the cheese, milk and eggs do their job. These popovers are plenty rich and plenty good. The only bummer is that you do need a popover pan to make these, but popovers are so good we suggest you buy or borrow a popover pan. Then you can make these popovers and you will feel, and eat, like a VIP.
BLT’s VIP Popovers:
(Adapted from BLT Steak)
Notes Before You Start:
- If you can’t find Gruyère cheese, Comte’ or a good quality Swiss cheese will work in a pinch.
- You must preheat the popover pan. The popovers will not rise or cook properly in a cold pan.
- Popovers have the name because they pop over the pan and grow vertically while they bake. Remove any oven racks above the popover pan (trust us on this one).
What You Get: Big, rich and tasty, but light and airy, popovers. What else do you need?
What You Need: A popover pan. Sorry, no way around this. But popovers rock, so a worthwhile purchase.
How Long? 70-80 minutes, with about 10 minutes of active time. An anytime dish, with planning, but a perfect weekend treat.
(Makes 12 popovers, you can halve the recipe)
- 4 cups whole milk, warmed
- 8 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 heaping tablespoons salt
- 2 and 1/4 cups grated Gruyère cheese
- Non-stick vegetable oil-based spray
- Place the popover pan(s) in the oven and preheat the oven and pan to 350 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, gently warm the milk over low heat (do not boil). Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until light and frothy. Slowly whisk the eggs into the warm milk (so as not to cook the eggs). When combined, set the mixture aside.
- Sift together the flour and salt. Then slowly add the dry ingredients to the milk and egg mixture. Whisk lightly until the batter is smooth. Set aside, keep warm or at room temperature.
- When the oven reaches 350 degrees and the batter is ready, remove the hot popover pan from the oven. Spray each cup with non-stick spray. Then add batter to each cup, up to 3/4 full (be careful). Top each popover with about 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of the grated Gruyère cheese.
- Place the popover pan(s) in the oven and bake for 50 minutes, rotating the pan(s) half a turn after 15 minutes. The popovers should have more than tripled in volume and be golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
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