Jan 16, 2011
I suppose that popovers are not technically cake, but these--from The Bread Bible--seem like they could qualify as a cake, with their coating of butter, cinnammon, and sugar. Besides, even though they're not from Heavenly Cakes, and they occupy this No Man's Land between cake and bread, I chose them for Free Choice Week because I like to talk about how wonderful these popovers are: easy, delicious, and virtually foolproof. (Jim says he will make them sometime himself, just to test how foolproof they are).
The batter is a snap to mix, with the added advantage that you can make it ahead of time, which is very nice if you're serving them in the morning, as I was, or you can make it immediately before baking. One of Rose's secrets to never-fail popovers is using Wondra flour, for its ease of incorporation in the batter.
I doubled the recipe because when I last served these, they popped off the plate quicker than you can say Jack Robinson.
As an aside, people who have been following my not-so-daring exploits may remember that Jim and I host coffee hours every Saturday morning in January. Jim gets up early and makes the trek in (usually) bitter cold weather to buy doughnuts. I get up early and bake something. Last year, these popovers were the runaway hit. I was under orders to repeat them this year.
Another secret is to heat the buttered popover pans for a few minutes before pouring in the batter.
Since I'd mixed the batter the night before, my Saturday morning job was easy. Heat and pour.
Third secret: quickly pierce the popover midway through baking to release some of the steam, thus insuring that the inside of the popover will not be eggy and goopy.
If you don't like the cinnamon-and-sugar idea, you'll have a lovely plain popover straight out of the oven; it's ready for butter, or--even better--butter and jam.
But I've discovered that the very best thing to do is to brush them with melted butter.
And then roll them in cinnamon and sugar.
When people start wondering in, sometime between 9:30 and 10:00, they grab a mug, pour themselves a cup of coffee, and then take a doughnut and/or whatever I've baked that morning. This week the popover platter was emptied early on--even though I'd made twice as many as last year--while there were still leftover doughnuts at the end of the morning.
Keep this recipe in mind when you've baked your way through RHC, and you're going through pangs of withdrawal at not having a new cake to try out every week. Then you too can ponder this burning question: are cinnamon-sugar popovers more like cake or more like bread?
Posted by Marie at 8:20 PM