Popovers: Plain, Cheese and Chocolate-filled!

(makes three)

In a glass measuring cup, microwave to melt:

1 T. butter

Then add:
and microwave to warm (about 20 seconds for cold milk.)
1/3 cup milk
Add and whisk in until smooth:
1 egg
pinch salt
1/3 cup flour
(add 2 T. of grated hard cheese here.)

Fill buttered (I use Pam) muffin tins 2/3 full and place in oven, which is set to 425° but preheated for only about five minutes!(1)

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the popovers are well-puffed and mostly browned (2). Turn off oven and leave for an additional 10 minutes to finish cooking.

For the chocolate-filled variety, after about five minutes of baking open the oven and add a spoonful of chocolate chunks (semi-sweet) to the liquid centers of the popovers. The edges should appear "cooked" and just starting to rise out of the tins. (3) Don't do this step too late, if the oven is opened after the popovers rise too much then they will collapse and you'll end up with muffins.

Ta da!

Left: Chocolate-filled. Center: plain. Right: cheese.

1) The oven mechanics seem to be the tricky part. Some recipes call for a preheated oven. In mine, this makes the tops done but leaves a soggy bottom. Other recipes have you place the popover mixture into a cold oven, then turn on the heat and start cooking. For me, this makes for burnt bottoms and not very puffed popovers. The best seems to be to turn the oven on when I just start to mix the ingredients, then it's quite warm, but not yet too hot by the time I put them in (about five minutes of "preheating.") Popovers need mostly bottom heat to puff and cook properly, as they are leavened by steam. So, in your five-minute 425° "preheated" oven, place the muffin tin at the lower third (near the bottom, but not right on top of the heating element.)

2) A glass window on your oven is really handy here! Julia Child recommended 25 minutes at 425° and an additional 15 at 350°! This was way too long and left me smoldering black briquettes. I figure she must have an extra-insulated popover tin.

3) I experimented by adding the choclate bits to the mixture before I put them in the oven, or by just mixing them in to the batter. In both cases the chocolate sank to the bottom (as the batter itself is quite thin) and just sort of "cooked" into single, crispy layer. Adding the chocolate bits after the batter has cooked for a while keeps the chocolate from sinking, and distributes it throughout the popover. The results are really very good!