We've written about popovers before. But have you ever had cheesy popovers? So easy, we promise. And even more impressive.
Popover batter is essentially the same as crepe batter. But while the crepe is by nature totally flat, a popover is anything but.
The pop-ability of a popover relies on high heat and a tall, narrow cooking vessel. A popover pan encourages steam, as does the wet batter. High cooking temperatures transform the steam from the interior into one huge air pocket, which remains contained within the popover's crusty exterior... only to be discovered when broken into.
Popovers are eggy but light. They're almost souflee-like in their ability to rise. (And impress.) And when topped with cheese, they make ideal partners for eggs at brunch, or with a dinner of spicy chili or even a salad. This recipe calls for gruyere, but I used a combination of gruyere, manchego, and aged farmhouse cheddar. Use whatever combination of cheese you like, just as long as the cheese is a great melter.
A few notes on the recipe: Don't be afraid to fill your popover pans to the tip top with batter! You'll get incredible height. And it may seem like a lot of cheese, but don't fear. The cheese will sink into some of the batter and will coat the outside of each popover. I had no issues with spillover.
Finally, the recipe says to rotate your pans after 15 minutes, which I did, but I wonder if opening the oven door may negatively affect the end product. I did find that the popovers deflated more readily than other times when I kept the oven door closed for the entire time. After trying both ways I think I'll probably keep that door shut.
This recipe comes from Bistro Laurent Tourondel: New American Bistro Cooking by Terrence Brennan, of Artisanal Cheese fame.
Giant Cheese Popovers
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt
4 cups milk
8 large eggs
Nonstick cooking spray
10 ounces freshly grated Gruyere cheese
Place two 6-cup popover pans on a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Sift together flour and salt onto a piece of parchment paper; set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Whisk eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Slowly add heated milk to eggs, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in flour mixture.
Remove heated popover pan from oven; spray each cup with nonstick cooking spray and place on a baking sheet. Working quickly but carefully, fill each cup with batter so it is level to the top; top with cheese.
Bake 15 minutes. Rotate pan 180 degrees; continue baking until golden brown, about 35 minutes more.
Invert pan and remove popovers. Serve immediately.
Popovers may also be made 2 hours in advance. Cool on a wire rack and reheat in an oven heated to 450 degrees just before serving.
Related: Easy Ethereal Popovers
Nora Singley is an avid lover of cheese, and for some time she was a Cheesemonger and the Director of Education at Murray's Cheese Shop in New York City, where she continues to teach cheese classes for the public. She is currently an assistant chef on The Martha Stewart Show.
(Images: Nora Singley)