Monday, February 15, 2010

Cinnamon-Sugar Encrusted Popovers

If you have a craving for something akin to a cinnamon-sugar doughnut or elephant ear but you don't want to do any deep frying, this is the recipe for you. I loved David Lebovitz's The Sweet Life in Paris and started following his blog. Recently he posted on Sugar-Crusted Popovers, which I am shamelessly re-posting here. This is a fantastic recipe to make with kids, as well. Though I know that Evan and Elspeth could have made a more complicated birthday dessert for me, this is the one I requested and I'm so glad I did. I see this recipe becoming a regular in our repertoire.

The only changes that I would make to the recipe based on Evan's and Elspeth's experience is that I would not bother melting nearly as much butter or making such a big bowl of cinnamon sugar. Neither can be reused after this application and our popovers were so well coated with both that I can't imagine needing more than half of what Lebovitz suggests. I also might even halve the recipe since it's tough for our family, despite being somewhat gourmande, to eat 9 popovers at a sitting and they are best the first day. Another option would be to make a full batch of batter but only cook half the popovers at a time. I think the batter would keep fine in the fridge for a day, covered tightly.

These popovers popped-over quite dramatically but then settled down nicely. The surprise is that when we ate them the day they were made, they had much more the texture and flavor of a doughnut than, say, a Dutch Baby. The second day (when we reheated in the toaster oven), they had a distinctly eggier flavor, which was also quite nice.

Now that we've got a baby in the family again in 2013, I've simplified this recipe to make it an easy favorite for our Friday breakfast for dinners. I follow the recipe as-written except that I use one 9-inch glass pie plate. I often add a fourth egg, as well, which changes the texture from light and airy to more clafoutis-like. Especially when it's breakfast for dinner, we like the more substantial version. I brush the melted butter on the pan and then sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar mixture. The rest I sprinkle over the batter just before it all goes in the oven. I start checking for doneness at 25-minute mark and voila! We like to eat our huge popover with pear-clove sauce or apple butter with a side of apricot sausage or pepper bacon if we need a bit of extra protein.

INGREDIENTS

For the Popovers
2 TBSP butter, melted
3 or 4 large eggs (Lebovitz suggests room temperature eggs but I'm pretty sure ours were cold; I have been known to bring eggs to room temp in a bowl of warm water)
1 c. whole milk (we had 2%)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 c. unbleached flour (we used white but would be interested to try whole wheat pastry flour)

For the cinnamon-sugar coating
1/8-1/4 c. evaporated cane juice/sugar
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 TBSP melted butter

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 9 cups of a popover tin or muffin pan, ideally with butter but you could also use cooking spray. We coated ours even though it's silicone just to be safe
  2. Put 2 TBSP melted butter, milk, eggs, salt and sugar in a blender and mix until combined
  3. Add the flour and mix for about 10 seconds, just until smooth
  4. Divide the batter among the 9 cups, filling each 1/2 to 2/3 full of batter
  5. Bake 35 minutes or until popovers are a rich golden brown
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes until you can handle them without burning yourself
  7. Meanwhile, mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and get the melted butter ready
  8. Set popovers on a cooling rack
  9. Brush each popover with melted butter and then dredge in the cinnamon-sugar until well coated all over
  10. Set back on the rack and cool (if you can manage to wait before diving in)

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