Originated from England in the 17th century, the traditional popover is a delicious and mouth-watering dish made from egg batter. Unlike other food recipes, the invention of popover was mostly like an accident where someone used excess liquid in a recipe. However, popovers have continued to be one of the most loved dishes worldwide after the first print of a popover recipe cookbook by M. N. Henderson in 1879. Due to its popularity and delicacy, different dates were set aside to enjoy different flavors in England. March 10th, May 3rd, and September 1st present a National Blueberry Popover Day, National Raspberry popover Day, and National Cherry Popover Day, respectively.
If you are serious about making popovers, it would be quite justifiable to invest in proper baking equipment specifically designed to hold popover batter – popover pan.
Popover pans differ from regular muffin pans by taller, narrower cups which make baking popover easier. Deep narrow cups prevent the mess from spilling out the batter when you’re placing the pan in the oven. Their shape moves content up to the top and keeps puffy tops separated as they enlarge. The number of individual cups included in each pan may vary from 4 to 10.
Many popover pans have the cups mounted to a wire rack that keeps them together. Separated cups allow for better air circulation and even heating, so popovers come out tall and crispy on the outside with a huge puffy top.
To make light and fluffy popovers find a popover recipe with simple ingredients like all-purpose flour, eggs, milk, salt, and a bit of melted butter. Process in your blender until smooth then preheat the popover pan in the oven and brush the cups with melted butter. Pour batter evenly into popover cups and bake for about 40 minutes.
For the best results, start the baking process at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350- 375 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes or until they become golden brown. NEVER open the oven door while baking.
They taste their best when just baked and can be served with anything.
What Material is Best for a Popover Pan?
Cast iron: Cast iron is known for its extraordinary heat retention. It can produce marvelous popovers that are warm and soft inside with a lovely golden crust. The dark-colored metal absorbs heat faster and shortens baking time. Cast iron should be seasoned with vegetable cooking oils for use in baking. It seems that cast iron popover pans are not produced anymore, but you can find some old pieces in vintage markets. These vintage cast-iron items can be used to make marvelous popovers or just for displaying to add an authentic rustic feel to your kitchen.
Non-stick: Non-stick coating provides easy removal of popovers. This means that you don’t have to grease the pan. Just turn it over and the popovers will slide right out. Easy food release also means that cleanup is painless. Just wipe it out with a soft soapy sponge. Metal utensils and abrasive cleaners should be avoided on nonstick surfaces. Also, never use a nonstick spray on the nonstick coating as it will develop residue and shorten the life of non-stick functionality.
Brand: Bellemain 6 Cup Nonstick Popover Pan by Epica.
Carbon steel: Carbon steel is a great heat conductor, allowing your popovers to turn out well browned, moist, and fluffy. Uncoated carbon steel should be washed by hand and dried immediately. Carbon steel with non-stick coating should also be hand washed to protect the non-stick surface.
Brands: 4756 Linking Mini Popover Carbon Steel Pan by Fox Run and Anolon Advanced Nonstick Bakeware 6-Cup Popover Pan.
Cast aluminum: Cast aluminum spreads heat well evenly resulting in excellent popovers. Those pans are heavy-weight and made to last a lifetime. To ensure that baked popovers will come out of the pan without a problem, grease the cups with melted butter. Hand washing is recommended to preserve non-stick coating.
Brand: Nordic Ware Cast Aluminum Petite Popover Pan.
Aluminized steel: Aluminized steel is appreciated among professional bakers due to its durability and superior heat conduction. The surface is coated with non-stick silicone. Hand washing is recommended to prolong the functionality of non-stick coating.
Brands: Chicago Metallic 26562 and USA Pans 6-Well Popover Pan.
Tips for Buying Best Popover Pan
Ease of cleaning: An excellent popover pan must be coated both in the interior and exterior to allow easy release of popovers in one piece and also for easy cleaning. The dishwasher safe feature allows you to put the pan straight into the dishwasher for more convenient cleaning. However, even pans that are labeled as dishwasher safe lose their non-stick capability after many trips in the dishwasher. A popover pan is a quite affordable item and once lose the “nonstick” properties you can simply replace it with a new one.
Even heat distribution: Popovers pans need to be made of a material that spreads heat evenly. The cups should be narrow, deep, and separated to allow for even distribution of heat and uniform cooking. Make sure that your pan is oven safe to 450°F to accommodate a wide range of recipes.
Comfortable handles: The wire-on-cup construction makes the pan difficult to hold. Make sure that your pan has handles for easy maneuvering.
The number of cups: 6 cup pan is easier to handle and more convenient than larger pans. However, if you have a big family, you will need more cups or buy more than one pan. Popovers are most delicious when consumed warm, so it is advisable to bake just as many popovers as you will be eating. If you decide to buy two pans it would be nice if they are stackable for easy storage.
Availability: Popover pan is not a versatile piece of cookware and it cannot be found everywhere. If your local store doesn’t carry popover pans, look at larger online stores and you will be able to find what you are looking for.