Popovers are the hollowest of muffins. The perfect bread-form soup spoons, or whipped cream receptacles. They look like a herd of mollusks perched on the cooling rack. I’ve made these before, to the smooth tones of Teddy Pendergrass crooning on about hot oils (key ingredient, here)—but never with sourdough starter, which is this month’s Sourdough Surprises mission. I experimented with larger amounts of sourdough starter at first, but there seems to be an inverse relationship between sourdough volume and popover rise, so I recommend only trace amounts of starter. I also played with some new flavors—originally parmesan and rosemary, which tasted great with an Italian meal—but because Christmas is coming, I thought a popover-wannabe-cinnamon roll might be something that would go well with the late morning breakfast around a bedazzled tree. Looking forward to “popping over” to the Pacific Northwest soon to see our families for the holidays—and by “popover” I mean in terms of mollusk-time—as we’ll be driving the 22 hours west. Really hope the mid-wintered Rockies are easy to popover… Just in case, I’m packing three batches of these—and possibly one human-sized popover we can climb inside for shelter and warmth if need be.
Sourdough and Spice Popovers
1/8 cup sourdough starter
1 cup half and half with a splash of nonfat milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and milk and the trace touch of sourdough all together. Whisk the flour, spices, sugar and salt together in a separate small bowl then sprinkle the mixture over the egg/milk mixture. Stir with a spatula until the flour is just incorporated, then add the melted butter and olive oil. Whisk the mixture together thoroughly until it is smooth with a few bubbles on top. Cover with a clean, dry dish towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour ½ tbsp olive oil into each of your popover receptacles (be it popover pan or muffin pan). Put the tray into the oven, and turn the heat to 450. Allow the oil to heat along with the oven. When the oven has heated and the “dough” is sufficiently rested, quickly remove the tray from the oven with the hot oil, and carefully pour the dough right on top of the oil. In the muffin tray, I fill each cup 2/3s full, but I’ve heard you should go to the top in popover pans.
Slide that puppy back in the 450 oven, and bake for 20 minutes (without peaking! This is key! I believe that popovers are fundamentally shy and won’t bloom if you keep checking), then turn the oven temperature down to 350 and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until nice and toasty brown. Remove from pan and cool on rack at once—if they cool in the pan, there is likely still some olive oil that they will continue to cook in, and will get burned and gross.
As seen on www.sourdoughsurprises.blogspot.com