Sugar-Dusted PopoversPosted: December 29, 2011
The last couple of years I’ve made it my tradition to wake up early on Christmas morning and make a nice breakfast for my family. Then we all sit down with our cups of coffee, look through our stockings and keep our cats from devouring the pulled-off ribbons and broken tree branches. As long as I can remember we’ve always had to wait for all family members to be present before we’d even enter the room with all the gifts, so the kitchen was a refuge; close enough to see the twinkling lights of the tree, far enough away that you wouldn’t spoil the surprise of the gifts Santa had put in your stocking. Having to wait for everyone also meant that sometimes you were left dilly-dallying for ages while someone was still sleeping. When I was a kid this was torturous, but now it’s not so bad; sometimes I’m the one sleeping in. I can now sleep soundly on the night before Christmas, because I’m a grown up. Hurrah!
This Christmas morning I snuck down to the kitchen to bake away, greeted by my early-rising mother. There’s something so comforting about cooking in the early hours of the morning before everyone is up, like your magical baked goods are going to wake the family from slumber and start the day. If there’s anything that will start you up on a cold morning, it’s these popovers; they taste like doughnuts (even though they’re baked, not fried), have a good crunch from the sugar that coats them and a divine smell from the orange zest. We were all happy to get seconds, so I can assure you that this was a sweet success.
This was my first attempt at making popovers–so named because their eggy filling pops over the sides as they bake, soufflé-style–so I was definitely not going to buy a proper popover pan. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen one of those! You can certainly just use a muffin tray, as I did.
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk or milk alternative (I used coconut milk, which worked nicely with the orange flavour)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp grated orange zest
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat your oven to 450°C and start making the batter: in a blender, whip together the eggs, milk, flour, butter, salt and vanilla until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Let it sit for a half-hour. After 20 minutes, prepare your tray by putting 1/2 tsp vegetable oil in each and sticking it in the oven to heat up.
Remove the pan from the oven and divide the batter among the eight cups. Return the pan to the oven and–without opening the oven door–bake for twenty minutes. Lower the heat to 350°C and bake for a further fifteen minutes, until your popovers are golden. Remove from the oven and turn onto a wire rack.
While your popovers cool a bit, prepare your sugar coating: mix together the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, orange zest and salt together in a shallow bowl. Brush each popover with the melted butter and dredge them in the sugar mixture. Serve warm with plenty of hot coffee.