Popovers with strawberry butter
Popovers are some kind of miracle. They’re what you might get if you crossed a pancake with a crescent roll, as strange as that sounds, but a better version of either, with crispy edges and a chewier texture. They’re an unfair version of “bread” with your meal because you won’t want to eat anything else on the table. And because of their otherworldly hybrid characteristics, they work just as well savory as they do sweet. I’ve made a gruyere version and I’ve made them with Parmesan and herbs, but I couldn’t help thinking how delicious these would be at brunch (Easter?!) with strawberry butter for sweeter vibes.
These are very easy to whip up as long as you follow the recipe instructions closely. In other words, don’t skip any steps and don’t open the oven door when it says not to open the oven door. Otherwise you will interrupt what looks like magic in your oven: the popovers living up to their name and literally popping over in their little cups, at least doubling in size and looking like little puffy golden brown monsters that seem to keep growing and growing.
Don’t be like me and attack your popovers with a knife to tear them out of a decades-old popover pan that you got from a garage sale and forgot to spray with non-stick spray—or do, but they’ll look like mine—a little torn apart and “rustic.” But guess what?! It certainly didn’t change the taste—just their photogenicity (why is that not an actual word?). And for what it's worth, mine could have cooked a bit longer and gotten more golden, but I got impatient. Just try to do as I say, not as I do. Yours will look better than mine.
These are absolutely best served right away while still warm and fresh.
About 3 strawberries, chopped very finely
½ tsp sugar
4 T butter, at room temperature (½ stick)
Mix strawberries with sugar and let macerate for 10 minutes or so. Then mix well with butter until combined, either by hand or in the bowl of an electric mixer. Use a spatula to scrape the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape the butter into a log, about 1-1½ inches in diameter. Place in the fridge to firm up (or the freezer if you’re pressed for time). When you’re ready to serve it, pull from the fridge and cut into slices, and place on a little dish for serving.
Fills one 6-cup popover pan
1½ cups flour
1 tsp salt
1½ cups whole milk
1 T butter, cut into 6 equal pieces
With oven rack in the bottom of the oven (and the other rack nowhere close to it), preheat oven to 425 degrees. While it’s preheating, put your empty popover tin in the oven (to warm it up). In a large bowl, combine flour and salt and stir together. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk eggs vigorously until frothy, maybe about 30 seconds. Heat milk in a small pot over medium heat until warm but not yet simmering. Temper the eggs by pouring a small very thin stream of hot milk (maybe a couple tablespoons total) into the eggs while whisking constantly. Don’t stop whisking. Then pour in another thin stream of hot milk, a little more this time, still whisking constantly. Repeat again, and then repeat with the remainder of the milk, still whisking constantly. At this time, pull the popover pan out of the oven, spray with non-stick spray, and add one tiny slice of butter to each cup. While butter is melting, combine egg-milk mixture with dry mixture, and stir by hand until just combined. When all the butter has melted, divide batter equally between the six cups, filling almost to the top. Place in oven on lower rack and bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven door (I know it’s tempting to peek, but do it through the window! DO NOT open the oven). After 20 minutes, lower heat to 300 degrees and bake for another 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, carefully pull popovers out of their tins, and serve right away with strawberry butter.