When Sunset Magazine home economists researched the problems of what makes popovers pop, they came to the conclusion that many old wives’ tales exist. Popovers do not need special treatment or special pans.
Popovers perform satisfactorily in a variety of cup-shaped containers lightweight or heavy, shiny or dull. Preheating the pans is not necessary. Overbeating will actually cause the popovers to rise less. Lowering oven temperature during baking no longer has any effect because modern ovens are so well insulated the temperature does not fall quickly.
However, inaccurate measurement of ingredients or opening the oven door while popovers bake can cause them to fall flat.
1 cup regular all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon melted butter or salad oil
1 cup milk
2 large eggs or about 1/2 cup slightly
Sift and measure flour into a bowl. Mix in the salt and sugar. Add oil, milk, and eggs, and beat with a hand beater (or electric beater at medium-high speed) until very smooth, scraping bowl fre-
quently with a rubber spatula; this takes about 1/2 minutes.
Grease baking cups with shortening or butter. Fill about one-third or one-half full with the batter. Bake on center rack in a 400° oven for about 40 minutes, or in a 375° oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until well browned and firm to touch. Remove from pans and serve hot.
Makes 12 popovers baked in VS-cup size pans, 10 popovers baked in Vi-cup size pans; or 8 or 9 popovers baked in 5 or 6-ounce ovenproof glass cups.
If you like the interior of the popovers to be especially dry, loosen from pan but leave sitting at an angle in cups; prick popovers’ sides with a skewer and let stand in the turned-off oven, door slightly ajar, for 8 to 10 minutes.
Baking at 400° gives a richly browned shell with a fairly moist interior; at 375° it will be lighter in color, drier inside.