Sunday, January 17, 2010

Science for breakfast...

Weekend breakfasts are sacred in my household…basically because not having to commute into the city on these magical mornings allows for something much more interesting and satisfying than a rushed bowl of cold cereal and black coffee while trying to dry my hair, pick out earrings, remember my lunch and not miss the train.

This morning I was in the mood for something more interesting than our delicious but mundane standby, the fried egg sandwich on a bagel.  Having recently finished Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio, mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been dying to make popovers…so those ended up on the breakfast table this morning, in all their eggy, creamy, butter-kissed golden glory. Popovers are a miracle of good old-fashioned science.  The liquid in the batter becomes steam when high heat is applied, and puffs up the gluten and protein structure of the popover as it begins to set while baking…no yeast necessary.  They are dramatic yet simple, and can be dressed up any way you please – sweet or savory.  And you don’t need a popover pan to make them – a plain old muffin tin will do just fine.

We enjoyed our popovers this morning with blackberry jam, butter and crème fraiche…scrumptious.  These are perfect for a chill breakfast for two, or a fancy brunch for however many you dare – the recipe is easily doubled or further multiplied! 

Barely adopted from Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio
Makes 6 popovers
(Michael's basic suggested ratio for popovers is 2 parts liquid : 1 part egg : 1 part flour)

8 ounces milk
4 ounces eggs (2 large eggs)
4 ounces flour (a scant cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1 ounces butter (1/4 of a stick), melted

Place your pan (popover or muffin tin) in the oven and preheat to 450º. 
Combine milk and eggs and whisk until they’re uniformly combined.  Add flour and salt and stir until combined.  Allow batter to sit for a half hour or longer for the flour to bloom, or hydrate (Don’t skip this step!)
Remove pan from oven (carefully, it will be blazing hot), and put 1 teaspoon of butter in each cup (for a muffin tin, you’ll be able to just fill 6 cups with this recipe – be sure to fill the other cups with a half inch of water for even baking).  Fill each of the buttered cups with batter and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375º and continue baking until done, 20-30 minutes (mine were done and delightfully golden at 24 minutes).
Serve straight from the oven with preserves, jams, honey, butter…whatever you like.  And I won’t even tell you to enjoy, because it will be impossible not to!


  1. hey beth, what kind of milk did you use? whole? And do you know how long the batter can sit? for example, could you prepare it the night before and refrigerate it? -Lucy

  2. Hey Lucy! I used skim milk, so that leads me to believe that any 'octane' milk would work fine. Some friends of mine even had success trying it with soy milk! You can definitely let the batter sit overnight in the fridge - I'd just be sure to bring it back up to room temp before baking.