Friday, January 26, 2007

Popover vs. The Puffy Pancake

It occurred to me today that the puffy pancake:

is really the same thing as:
The popover!

No really, the recipes are nearly identical, and I never realized how similar the two finished products are until today. I shall keep this in mind for when I want a puffy pancake AND eggs for breakfast now that I have discovered the secret of using a ramekin to make a trial sized version.
A while back I acquired a matched set of 7" cast iron skillets that I love for making two individual puffy pancakes at once, but these still make quite a large pancake to serve in combination with other breakfast items.

This little guy is hot from the oven and unfortunately looking a little sad with it's warty skin. I haven't made popovers in years and I can't recall what recipe I would have used in the past, but part of the allure of the popover is that shiny, dry and chewy-crisp skin that you get (or not, in this case) on the tops that you can peel away to reveal the hollow eggy goodness inside.
Today I chose the popover recipe in Joy of Cooking and I hold it responsible for this warty sadness. It says to just fold the flour into the milk and egg mixture which leaves the batter pretty lumpy. Although the recipe tells you this is OK and to be expected, I assume it's also what led to the unattractive wartyness. So while I get the point that we are trying to prevent the flour from developing a gluten network, next time I will go the puffy pancake recipe route and zizz everything together in the blender for a sec.

For experimentation's sake, I baked most of the batter in my jumbo muffin pan and did the rest in ramekins. I have made popovers before with great success in a regular muffin pan (as Alton would say, who needs a uni-tasker that would be the popover pan when there is a perfectly acceptable multipurpose substitute?), but today I was looking to get a jumbo sized product so I figured the giant muffin cups would be just the ticket. So although they held more batter to begin with, they didn't turn out nearly as nice or as puffy as the ramekin batch. I think this is because of the heat holding capability of the ceramic vs. the thin metal of the muffin pan, much like the heat-holding cast iron skillet helps the magic of the puffy pancake happen.

BTW, does anyone know if popovers come out better with regular or convection baking?

And oh yes, they were delicious, warty skin and all :)

i love popovers but haven't made any in years. thanks for the reminder.
I'll have to run the convection or regular over question poast my co-workers at the kitchen store! I haven't tried to make them in some time.
try a jelly pizza!
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