My grandma Sylvia—when she had her wits about her, as they say—was a chef. She was funny, creative, and little meshugganah. She owned her own restaurants, created innovative menus, and hosted dinners where she cooked elaborate meals for family and friends.
My grandpa—the chief dishwasher—adored her. My mom and I recently found stacks of letters they wrote to each other in the 30s. Back and forth, referring to one another as "my darling", they shared stories of what they were doing and how they missed each other.
I've learned a lot about food from my grandmother—and I probably get some of my craziness from her too. I learned not to overmix cakes, the correct way to chop nuts, and the importance of presentation from her. And I like to think that if she had any idea what day it was—or what my name is—she'd follow this blog. "Bubbeleh," she'd say, "I'm so proud of you. Now, taste this chicken."
Learning from the greatest doesn't make me immune to kitchen mishaps. I have had some serious baking disasters in my day: Cakes that implode, pies that leak, bread loaves that could break windows. But I never feel more like a magician than when I make popovers. The ingredients and directions are simple and I've never had them... pop under. If you catch my drift.
They feel fancy and they taste like heaven. What more could you want out of a pastry? Calorie-free? Ain't gonna happen. You can make them sweet or savory—or both—in this case. With a small dollop of creamy goat cheese and quick roll in sugar, these popovers are somethin' else.
If the combination doesn't suit your fancy, you can omit the sugar, the cheese, or both.
Now, pop on down to the recipe.
TO MAKE THIS RECIPE YOU WILL NEED:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. If you decide at the last minute that you're going to make popovers (like me), you can bring your eggs to room temp by placing them in a bowl of warm water for ten minutes and warm your milk until the chill is gone.
Preheat your oven and your pan. Having a hot oven and hot pan are crucial. Don't ask me to explain science, just trust me. So, preheat your oven to 425. Spread softened butter all over your popover pan (you can try a muffin tin, but I used a popover pan and can't vouch for a muffin tin). Heat the pan in the hot oven for two minutes.
Mix up your batter. In a large mixing bowl (I used an 8-cup measuring cup with a spout to make pouring the batter easy), combine the melted butter, milk, and eggs, whisking until well combined. Add in the flour and salt and whisk until the large lumps are gone.
Fill your pan. Pour batter into hot, greased tin, filling each cup a little over halfway full. Place a dollop (a couple teaspoons) of goat cheese into the center of each cup.
Bake on. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes on the nose. No matter how bad you want to see the magic: Do. Not. Open. The. Oven.
Marvel at the magic and give 'em a roll. Take the pan out of the oven and let popovers cool for a minute. Place sugar in a shallow dish. Carefully remove popovers from the pan and roll in sugar, coating each side.
recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties