As I sit down to write this, I realize that I have, perhaps, what some might consider to be an inordinate amount of stories pertaining to popovers. I think what I’d like to do is sprinkle them out over time, in what I’m strongly inclined to refer to as The Popover Chronicles. Possibly a tinge overdramatic but nonetheless it has a ring to it, does it not?
I think it’s a title befitting the majesty one is struck by as they pull a tray of perfectly baked popovers from the oven: Behold their corpulent tops, inflated as can be and wanting to tear apart at the seams. Doré: a gleam so bright the eyes almost have to look away, and even the nose is able to discern that the fullest potential of golden-brown has been achieved—turn them out of the pan swiftly. Marvel at how their gilded crowns sit so mightily atop their narrowing base you worry the weight might crush it—but fear not—like a balloon, they are capable of being simultaneously full and weightless.
But deference can only be paid for so long, as these are best eaten hot, and one should feel no shame giving in to their instincts here—don’t even think about utensils. Using your hands to pull apart a piece of bread is one of the greatest feelings in the world. It just feels so right, like something they were meant for. Forks and knives, and tools in general are great, but entirely uncalled-for in order to tackle a popover.
I say this based on my experience working as a popover runner (it’s like a food runner but strictly for popovers) at the restaurant where a significant portion of The Popover Chronicles took place. Now, I wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone, but in all candor, I can’t tell you how many times someone would look down at the popover I’d served them and then look up at me with a confused—neigh—a perturbed expression on their face while asking: “How am I supposed to eat this?” To which I replied with a smile, and, most importantly, in my mind: “Like a dog, you fool! Just bend your head down and chomp away at it! How do you think you’re supposed to eat it?!?”
I know, that’s extremely judgemental of me. Maybe they were concerned about etiquette. Maybe they’d just never heard of a popover before. What can I say, as an asker of stupid questions myself, I’m aware that I should have a kinder heart and more patience with others. But when an adult, presumably non-space-alien person asks me how they are supposed to eat something, I start asking myself some serious questions.
I start worrying that I might be out driving on the same road as that person later tonight, and if they don’t know how to eat a piece of bread set down before them, by god, are they gonna know what to do at a red light!? How do they parallel park? Do they just bang into the two cars they’re trying to park between until their car fits and then jump out and go on their merry way? I mean, if I had set an unopened oyster down on the tablecloth in front of them accompanied by nothing but a rock and an anticipatory stare, then, please, by all means, ask away! Sigh. It’s all just too much for me, so, I say to you now:
Rip into them with your hands. Tear them open, and inside this treasure chest one will find a wisp of steam gives way to a bright-yellow honeycomb of a crumb inside, which clings pluckily to the crisp crust that leaves a slight slick of fat on your hands. Crisp, warm, tender, chewy, and light as air all at once. You will want to lick the cinnamon sugar off your fingers, and you should, with abandon. Enjoy the pleasures of the warmth and safety of your home and the comfort of your glee.
The base of this recipe was adapted from the 180 batch version used at the aforementioned restaurant. I made this particular cinnamon-sugar variety of popover on a cold and blustery day, the majority of which was spent in procrastination of snow shovelling. I highly recommend it. Baking instead of shovelling, that is. I fortified myself with one before going outside to sling some snow around, and Ryan consoled himself with a couple after his immense effort spent undoing the work the plows had done to seemingly move all of the snow from the road into the end of our driveway. I’ll chalk the two he had after that up to these just being that damn good.
Cinnamon Sugar Popovers
Yield: 6 popovers
Note: I was using organic granulated sugar which has crystals quite a bit larger than your everyday granulated sugar, so I gave it a couple of quick blitzes in a spice grinder
For the Popovers:
Hello! I'm Kat.
Cooker, baker, amateur pottery maker.
CIA graduate (culinary arts & applied food studies) who previously studied anthropology. Lifelong restaurant worker.
Food obsessed. Anxiety disorder. Grief bearer.
Here you'll find recipes for what I'm currently craving and sometimes even why! But sometimes not.