There was a fight in our house last weekend.
I place much of the blame on my husband: he was the one who peeked ahead in the photo calendar he got for Christmas. November shows a picture of our son eating his first popover with evident relish. Which prompted him to send me a note saying we’d need to have popovers again soon.
So this past weekend, I planned for a simple supper of soup accompanied by popovers. (Which really is code for “eat as many popovers as we can, and have a bowl of soup nearby for appearance’s sake.”) About a half-hour after placing the pan with batter in the oven, I turned on the oven light to see how things were puffing up. And our son happened to peer through the oven window with me, which led him to ask: “is that what we’re having for breakfast tomorrow?”
“No,” I replied. “That’s what we’re having with our supper tonight.”
“Yum!” And off he went, dancing a little happy jig back into the living room to play with his toys until called to dinner.
A standard popover pan makes six popovers. In our pre-kid days that could easily be split between my husband and myself, though we’d feel kind of bloated afterwards. Last year, the husband would still eat three popovers, I’d eat two, and our son would eat one.
Our son has grown since then.
As the popovers finished baking, my husband suddenly turned to me and said “you have to figure out a way to make more batches of popovers at once!” And as I stared through the oven window to see that lovely pan, with crispy brown bouffants sprouting high into the oven’s cavity, I thought to myself “you’re going to have to figure out how to share.”
Our son was anxious to get eating, so I seated him in his booster seat at the dining table, cracked open and buttered a popover, and set it on a little plate in front of him while I dished up the soup. And it got quiet. Too quiet. We both peeked into the dining room to see that little boy gripping a popover half with both hands, cheerfully chomping away.
The popover was half-gone by the time we set out the rest of supper and sat down to eat together. We dined and chatted. And my husband had eaten two popovers by the time our son pointed to the lone popover sitting in the serving bowl and declared “I want more!”
I glanced over to my husband, who stared at that lone popover, his face reflecting the inner conflict. He really wanted that last popover. And while he was glad that his son appreciated the noble popover and all its’ wonders, he also didn’t want to share the last popover.
Our son looked over to me. I looked across the table to my husband. And said “sometimes parenting requires a little sacrifice.”
And he kind of snapped. “Not if it involves the last popover! Let him take my car out for a drive, I don’t care. But I want the last popover.”
“I can’t drive, Daddy,” said our son.
And as he processed that reply I quickly grabbed the popover, split and buttered it, and placed it on our son’s plate.
Silence prevailed. My husband watched our son eat his second popover. I watched my husband to make sure things weren’t going to get overly dramatic. Our son broke the silence when he said “Mommy, I’m full.” I noticed that there was still a half of a popover uneaten on his plate.
“Is your tummy full?”
“Did you want to leave the table and go play?”
“Did you want to share the last of your popover with Daddy?”
And so, the last popover was shared between father and son. And a father was rewarded for his sacrifice.
I do not know if they will learn more about sharing in future batches of popovers. I’m a bit stymied about how to do multiple or even sequential batches since part of the formula involves fluctuating oven temperatures and having a pan that’s truly hot enough. And don’t you dare suggest getting one of those mini-pans. That would kill the joy. But, if you’d like to start your own fight over popovers, here’s the recipe I use. You’ve been warned.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (use whole milk, not low-fat)
Position oven rack so that the tops of the popovers will be near the middle of the oven, and preheat to 450 degrees.
In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until the yolks and whites are completely mixed and change color. Gently mix in the milk and warm the mixture in the microwave until it is about room temperature (try about a minute at half-power).
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. There will be some small lumps left in the batter.
In the preheated oven, heat a six-cup popover pan on top of a baking sheet for 5 minutes. Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in a small bowl while the pan is heating. Take the popover pan out of the oven, shutting the oven door, and brush the insides of the popover pan cups with plenty of melted butter.
Fill the cups half full with batter, and place the popover pan in the oven.
Bake the popovers at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes or until the popovers are golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Makes 6 popovers.