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Breads, Breakfast/Brunch, Economical, Failure, Quick and Easy, Stuffing Stuff

Ham and Cheese Popovers

by Nick

I’m almost always against devices that just do one thing.  I simply don’t have enough room in my kitchen for a million different single-use tools.

I don’t need an avocado slicer, an apple corer, or any other nonsense.

There are some special exceptions to this rule though.  First, if you need a single-use device because it’s the only way to actually make the thing you are trying to make, then you might want it.

Second, you probably want to make sure that you would make the thing with enough frequency to warrant the single-use device.

For me, a waffle iron falls squarely in this group.  You can’t make waffles without it and I like waffles!

I’m starting to think that a popover pan is also in this list of single-use devices that are worth it.

Yield
6 popovers
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Ham and Cheese Popovers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled (plus some for pan)
  • 1 cup milk, room temp
  • 3 ounces ham, diced
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

Helpful Equipment

Directions

1) Combine dry ingredients for batter in a bowl.

2) Combine room temperature milk and eggs in a bowl. Add wet to dry ingredients and combine well. Stir in melted butter.

3) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly butter a muffin or popover pan.

4) Pour a small dollop of batter into each popover tin. Then add a small pinch of ham and cheese to each tin. Pour batter over filling to cover. Fill each tin about 3/4 full.

5) Bake popovers for 15 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for another 20-25 minutes.

6) Popovers are done when they are puffed and browned on top. Remove from oven and let cool briefly, then serve them up!

Adapted from an Alton Brown recipe.

A Popover Problem

I tried this recipe a few times using a muffin tin thinking that I could figure out how to get the signature popover puff.  It never really worked out though.  I tried the recipe without the filling, I tried starting with a cold pan and a hot pan, I tried using butter and no butter.

Every time gave me popovers that were definitely edible, but not really popped.

So, while you can make this recipe in a muffin tin, I think you’ll have better results with a popover pan.

That said, if you just want to give the recipe a shot, try it out in a muffin tin.  Betsy and I still ate all the popovers.  They were basically like a light muffin stuffed with ham and cheese.

If you find yourself wanting to make them again (I do), then maybe splurge for the special pan.

The Batter

This batter is very similar to a pancake batter.  The key to success with it (so I hear) is to have your ingredients at room temperature.

On one of my popover attempts I actually didn’t let my eggs and milk warm up a bit and my results were even worse.  So that’s definitely an important step.

batter

Basic stuff.

To make the batter, just whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, go ahead and combine the milk and eggs.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and then stir in your butter.

butter

Melted but not hot.

Whisk everything together until your batter is incorporated smoothly.  It should be a pretty wet batter.

There’s no leavening ingredients in the batter which might sound weird, but all the leavening is just from the rapid heat.  Steam from the batter gets trapped and causes the popover to do its thing.

batter

Similar to a pancake batter!

The Fillings

Fillings are optional and I think most popovers are just plain, but I thought it would be fun to add some flavor, especially since I figured my texture would never be perfect without the special pan.

cheese

Easy and quick fillings.

Baking the Popovers

The best results that I had for these guys was when I let the batter sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature after mixing it.  I think that helped it come to room temperature.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425.  Pre-heat the pan you are planning on using for 5 minutes in the oven.

Then take the pan out and quickly butter it or spray it with some nonstick spray.

Then pour a small dollop of batter in the bottom of the tins.  Add some ham and cheese to it next. You don’t need to go crazy with the fillings.  A little goes a long way.

filling

Get it?

Then add more batter to fill the tins almost to the top.

This is ready for the oven!

ready

Ready to bake!

Bake the popovers at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 and bake for another 20-25 minutes until they are a nice deep brown color.

Definitely don’t open the oven during the cooking time.  If you do, a lot of heat will escape and that will kill whatever popover action you are getting.

Like I said, mine were actually still pretty tasty even though they didn’t achieve maximum height.

I cut into one so you could see the delicious fillings and the airy inside.

popover

Still pretty light and fluffy!

I categorize this as a fail, but it’s a pretty minor fail.  They were still very delicious!

I was never able to get the best rising on my popovers which makes me think it was pan-related.

If anyone is a popover expert, share your secrets!

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17 comments on “Ham and Cheese Popovers

  1. Bascially these to me look like what we call Yorkshire Puddings. There are several simple steps that always make Yorkshire Puddings a success, and it maybe the same for a pop-over. The batter must be rested for 60-90 mins, and at room temperature. The Yorkshire Pudding tin ( or Pop-Over Pan I guess), must be in the oven at a high temperature for at least 15 mins, with a little oil in it so the oil is also smoking hot. Then when you take the pan out, put the batter in as quick as you can and back into the oven at lightening speed. Then do not open the door for at least 15 mins. I like the sound of Cheese and Ham Yorkshire Puddings – I may give that a go!

      1. I agree with James, your popover looks a lot more like I expect a Yorkshire pudding to turn out. I think that a popover really needs the right pan to pop. They have some similarities, but I think the traditional difference is that popovers are both brushed with butter, and served with it (I like honey butter), and Yorkshire pudding, traditionally made with drippings from a pan of roast beef and served with gravy. The muffin tin is perfect for Yorkshire pudding since you don’t expect it to be as big and puffy. The tip about the pan being hot and the drippings or oil almost smoking is a key. I think resting the batter is also a good idea, it occurs naturally in the course of preparing a Sunday dinner, where these appeared throughout my life. It is frustrating not to have them be exactly what you want, but this is something worth trying again, before you know is, you’ll be an expert.

    1. I second what James said, lol. The only thing a popover (or yorkshire pudding) pan offers is a little deeper well. A muffin tin should work fine, but do expect them to be a touch smaller than ones made in the specialized pan. Other than that – I think you just ran into a process issue – i.e. no heated oil/fat in pan and not quick enough back into oven. I think maybe to speed your process next time – fold your ham and cheese gently into your rested batter just before you take your tin from the oven.

  2. Boy do I agree with your post, I am tired of pans and utensils made for one use only, however, the popover pan (if you like popovers) is a miracle pan. My popovers looked just like yours until I got a real popover pan, then they looked like this:
    http://coleensrecipes.blogspot.com/2011/02/ultimate-and-easy-popover.html
    I’m now trying to find additional uses for this pan (so I won’t feel guilty), but it really does make a wonderful popover. I can’t wait to try your ham and cheese version.

  3. I’m the same way about utensils and things for the kitchen. I just hate having to search for something while digging through tons of things I never use. It just becomes a waste of money.

    The ham and cheese popovers look awesome. I’m not too familiar with a popover so you probably could’ve called it whatever you wanted and I’d still be trying it! I might have to change the cheese since regular cheddar is difficult to get around here, but this recipe is definitely on my list for the next week. They seem great for any time!

  4. Hi. I just made these tonight in muffin pans and they were completely popped out of the pan. I was so surprised when I took them out of the oven and they were heaped up like giant towers. The tops collapsed soon afterwards as the steam escaped. I heated up the pan like you said, and i put little pads of butter in the bottom before I put the pan in. I tried to pour the batter in as quickly as I could like one of your commenters suggested(though admittedly – the pan had cooled enough by the time I finished that I could put it back in the oven without mitts). These were so delicious my husband scarfed two right off the bat. Great recipe!

  5. Hi. I came across your website while researching popover recipes. I’m definitely no expert, but I wanted to make a comment in regards to your “popover problem.”

    Many of the recipes I’ve seen actually start with milk that has been heated, almost to the point of boiling, which is then slowly incorporated into the egg mixture, as opposed to using just room temperature milk.

    Here is a a link to a recipe that I saw featured on “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives” from a place called “Foreign and Domestic”. Your recipe with the ham and cheese sounds really good, but you might want to check out this technique and see what happens.

    http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/chefs_recipes/2066/Peppery_cheesy_popovers_from_a_Texas_newcomer.htm

  6. I once read that using nonstick spray can have something to do wih the “pop” of the popovers. Something about them not being able to puff and cling to the little muffin sides…use a little butter in the bottoms of each muffin and maybe that helps with your pop! I’d eat em just as they are though, if ya ask me!

  7. Popover pan is essential! It makes such a difference and they are so yummy. I too am not much into gadgets etc, but sometimes the right tool is undeniably the key to success, as is the case here. Duck eggs, if available to you, work splendidly as well. The richness makes Yorkshire Pudding and Popovers wickedly delicious.

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