There are some things that I’ve made so many times I know exactly how they will look when I take them out of the oven. Like when I make a peach pie, I know that the lattice top will be golden brown, the peach juice will have bubbled out and made a random baked on glaze across pieces of the top, and the raw course sugar will have a toasted look. And when I bake a cheesecake, I know it will have pulled away from the sides of the springform pan, and the top will look slightly golden. And even more importantly, when I bake chocolate cupcakes from my grandma’s chocolate cake recipe, the tops will be perfectly rounded.
But I also love trying new recipes. I love finding a recipe that looks enticing and challenging and bringing it to life. I love seeing it in every stage it takes on. And I love watching it bake through my oven window in anticipation of what it’s finished form will be!
While I get an amount of enjoyment out of baking cakes and cupcakes, my real passion is pastry, French and English baking, and breads. I’ve been wanting to try popovers for some time, and since my parents were in town last week I figured it was the perfect opportunity to try something new!
Popovers earned their clever little name by their tendency to swell over the sides of the cups they are being baked in. Its history’s origin is American, but descends from 17th century batter puddings made in England such as Yorkshire pudding. If you’re like me, I think of pudding as butterscotch, chocolate and vanilla. But if you’re English you make a buttery muffin cooked in hot beef drippings and call it pudding. Those English…they’re always throwing meat in with things they shouldn’t…pudding, pies, and trifles (shout out to the Friend’s episode where Rachel makes Thanksgiving dessert!).
After learning a little about where popovers came from I was even more excited to head down to my favorite little kitchen store downtown, Kitchen Complements. I buy all of my kitchen essentials there! I’ve become good friends with the owner, Diane, and each time I step in it means great conversation about the latest kitchen tool she got in, how the store is doing, and what my latest baking project is. And if I’m lucky, she shares some of her years of expertise with me in regards to whatever I’m buying. This particular day I was just that lucky. After a couple of tips I firmly believe were the secret to why mine turned out so wonderfully, I grabbed my new popover pan and headed home to search for a recipe.
I ended up using this recipe, and they turned out so marvelous, popping right over the tops of those crazy cups! Light and airy on the inside, golden and crusty on the outside, I topped them with butter and pear vanilla jam, and served them with scrambled eggs, sausage, and hot coffee. Best thing about this breakfast…being able to share it with my parents. 🙂