From N., 9 June 2010 – popovers: getting those pesky little treats out of the pan.
Q: I make lovely popovers that rise high in their popover pans, with a crunch on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfect. Except, to get them out of their little lairs, I have to massacre them. No amount of Pam or butter has made it possible to remove a popover without destruction. What to do?
A: Hey there. Well, first of all, congratulations on making such excellent popovers. I’m sorry you haven’t been able to enjoy them intact. To solve the problem, I’d like to know more about your baking process. Are you using a preheated popover pan, or do you start the popovers in a cold (room temperature) pan? Do you use a popover pan, a muffin tin, or some other vessel (like silicone cups)? Is it a nonstick pan? And how long after baking do you attempt to free the popovers?
Popovers are among my favorite things to eat, with a savory herb butter. I don’t make them very often because I’m pretty sure I’d have to buy a whole new wardrobe if I ate them on a regular basis. As I’ve noted before in these pages, I’m not a baker, so I don’t develop recipes for baked goods. I rely on this recipe, from the Neiman Marcus cookbook, for perfect popovers. I use a twelve-cup nonstick popover pan from Chicago Metallic, and I follow the instructions assiduously. These tips have always resulted in perfect, non-sticking popovers:
* Make sure the eggs and milk are at the specified temperatures (basically a little warm) when you start.
* Let the batter rest for an hour before filling the pans and baking. This is counterintuitive, right? You would think freshly-beaten egg-based batter would have the most leavening. I would think so too. But actually, the resting period after beating allows the gluten in the batter to relax, giving rise (ha) to a thinner, crisper popover.
* Really grease up those nonstick cups, and fill them while they’re cold (room temperature). Cold butter sticks the best to nonstick, I find, but a really good spraying with a nonstick spray will work as well. I’m not crazy about nonstick spray, so I don’t use it.
* If you lack confidence in these measures, you can flour as well as butter those cups. I’ve not tried this, but generally, baked goods release more easily from buttered and floured pans than from those you’ve simply buttered.
* Release the popovers immediately after removing the pan from the oven.
Good luck, and let me know how it goes.