My earliest childhood memory of popovers is a very special one. Every December, my parents would load us up and drive to San Francisco for a few days before Christmas. We'd see The Nutcracker, go shopping, and take in the city by trolley. On one of the days, my mom always scheduled a "girls only" lunch at the Neiman Marcus in Union Square. The restaurant (called The Rotunda) was up at the top of the department store overlooking the square outside. A big, round dining room with lots of white tablecloths and china. When you sat down, they brought you warm popovers with strawberry butter and a cup of chicken broth with a puff pastry bite. It was always the fanciest lunch of the year.
What most people don't realize is how simple they are to make with the proper equipment (IE a popover pan). We make a whole lot of popovers on the weekends - our signature flavor has evolved over the past year or two - a basic popover with a hint of thyme and freshly grated cave-aged gruyere baked on top - served with strawberry butter or sea salt butter with estate honeycomb. The perfect mix of sweet and savory is intoxicating.
6 large eggs
3 cups AP Flour
3 cups Whole Milk
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
Shredded Gruyere for topping
Couple Sprigs of Thyme
Grapeseed Oil Spray
Special Equipment: Popover Pan
1. Heat oven to 400. Once it reaches temperature, place the empty popover pan in the oven to heat for 10 minutes.
2. Heat the milk in a saucepan with the sprigs of thyme (just place them in whole) and you don't want the milk to boil - just go until just under, where you are seeing little bubbles collect around the top edges of the milk. Remove the thyme sprig.
3. Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk together.
4. In a separate bowl, add the flour and salt.
5. Carefully whisk the warm milk into the eggs - slowly so you don't curdle the eggs - and then add the flour and salt mixture. Whisk until just combined.
6. Pull the hot pan from the oven and spray with oil, then ladle the warm batter into each compartment - about 3/4 the way up and sprinkle with cheese.
7. Place the pan back in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until completely puffed up and golden brown.
Couple of things to remember :
1. Never open the oven once the popovers are in (they are like little soufflés and will cave in if you aren't careful)
2. Always place the popovers toward the bottom of the oven (as far as racks are concerned) and pull out the rack above them because they are going to rise up super huge and need their space
3. Lastly, as soon as the popovers come out, if you aren't going to serve them that very second, grab a pairing knife and quickly pierce a small hole in the top of each one so that some of the steam can escape and they will stay nice and big and pretty much longer on your table, otherwise they will cave in and shrink in minutes.
For the strawberry butter, if you are interested, simply bring a stick of salted butter to room temperature and whip it with equal parts strawberry preserves in your stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) until nice and fluffy.