Sis blogging partner and I decided we needed to start getting some Thanksgiving ideas on the table here at FFA (well, aside from that awesome Pumpkin Spice Cake). I’m fairly predictable when it comes to the holiday these last couple of years. Up until recent times, we’d been relying on my mother’s wonderful cooking to be our sole means of feasting. But hubby and I decided that we wanted to try our hands at crafting our own Thanksgiving meal traditions as well, so we started doing a smaller version at home. The predictable part comes in with Williams-Sonoma. I’ve had nothing but luck when it comes to trying their recipes, lots and lots of yummy, satisfied luck. To carry that forward, hopefully, I decided we needed to try these blue cheese popovers.
You know, we didn’t discover till afterward, and thanks to never having made them before, that popovers are tricksy little things.
It started out innocently enough on a gorgeous, sunny Sunday. We gathered the ingredients, discovering that, all the necessary, yet at-times-tedious picture-taking aside, popovers come together relatively quickly. I’m thinking this is partly what makes them a score for Thanksgiving. You could, theoretically, make these that very day and serve some very tasty little treats for your family and/or guests.
But wait, evil may lie in wait!
Much like a lot of muffin recipes, you mix the dry ingredients first. Here it’s merely all-purpose four, salt, pepper and minced fresh parsley.
Then you mix in the wet ingredients to the dry – milk, eggs and some melted butter. You think it’s going really well, right? And fast? Oh yeah, these little guys may have you fooled, too.
So you spoon the batter into mini muffin wells. This is feeling so easy. A little too easy…
Now for the blue cheese. We couldn’t find Roquefort, and I’m not entirely sure what specific kind ours was, let’s just say it was very sufficiently pungent and tangy and stinky. I’m sure Roquefort would be proud.
It’s time to bake! We are so excited! It smells awesome! They look so…
Wait, we were supposed to be making POPovers, right? Not blue cheese cups… waitaminutewhathappenedaaaahh!
I think I cursed a little. At the non-popovers. I do know I munched angrily on a couple. They tasted good, but they were not popovers. I looked quite seriously at sis blogging partner, who needed to be getting home soon and grimly announced that I would be making these again. She was like, Really? Wince. I was absolutely going to. We can’t rec a recipe that came out like that, right? We weren’t sure at all what went wrong, but I just whipped up another batch as quickly as I could – again, these really take NO time to put together since there’s nothing to chop up or really prep ahead of time – and in the oven they went.
These, to me, came out a success. I thought maybe I’d overfilled the wells with batter prior, so I used a half tablespoon less in each muffin well, taking it down to a tablespoon total in each. I also did not peek at them at all with the oven door open the second time. The original directions say not to open the oven in the first ten minutes, but we didn’t want to take any chances and opted for no peeking at all. Or maybe it really meant no peeking at all. I think I was confused about that.
Do you know how hard that is for a cook? Especially when you have to bake till golden? HOW DO YOU KNOW…if you don’t open the door to peek? *whimper* My oven window isn’t like clear glass – whose is? You should of seen me pressing against it to see. Well, actually it’s best you didn’t.
If these look like something you’d like to try for Thanksgiving, my advice is to practice making them ahead of time. Do a trial run or two. I also looked up some other recipes for popovers and one consistent thing I saw in most was to “let the batter rest” prior to baking. I incorporated that in the recipe below, figuring that it couldn’t hurt, and since I also noticed that our own batter, which didn’t entirely get used, had thickened a little after sitting for about ten minutes. At first it’s pretty runny.
The second batch of popovers was more dense in texture while also being light-tasting. More substantial but also airy thanks to the little pockets that developed in them, which you can clearly see in the pictures. The blue cheese tasted wonderful here, but I’m also guessing that you could substitute it with another kind if blue isn’t your thing. The first batch in comparison, while tasty, was spongy – not the texture we were going for.
Once you’ve nailed down the technique that works for you, these little guys really are a delight. Serve ’em as appetizers or to accompany a meal. Enjoy!
Mini Blue Cheese Popovers
Very slightly adapted from Tiny Roquefort Popovers in Hors d’Oeuvre, by Brigit L. Binns
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Level: Easy* Makes: 24 popovers
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
- 3 oz. Roquefort or other strong-flavored,
crumbly blue cheese, crumbled
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 450°F. Generously brush one 24-cup or two 12-cup mini-muffin pans with vegetable oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, white pepper and parsley. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, eggs and butter. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk together until just combined (don’t worry if a few lumps remain). Let the batter rest for about ten minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups to within 1/4 inch of the rim (about 1 Tbs. each). Place a scant 1 tsp. crumbled cheese in the center of each filled cup.
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake until the popovers are brown and crusty and fully puffed, 8 to 10 minutes more. Do not open the oven door during this time.
Remove from the oven and immediately transfer the popovers to a napkin-lined bowl or warmed platter. Serve immediately. Or, let cool on wire racks for up to 2 hours, then reheat in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes.
On the level of difficulty, once you get your technique down – the amount in each muffin well, how long is best for your oven to bake them, etc. – this really, truly is an easy recipe, one I feel is very doable the day you want to serve them. You could probably even make up the batter ahead of time, and bake them a little later, although I would again advise you to try that ahead of time to make sure. Some popover recipes, in addition to letting the batter rest prior to baking, also advised letting it chill for a bit, too.