If you follow the recipe for “Perfect Popovers”, you’ll be known as the never-fail popover baker in your family or even in the neighborhood. But since popovers are just hollow muffins, it is almost inevitable that someone is going to say, “I wonder what would happen if you tried adding some whole wheat flour to these things.”
I asked myself that question a couple of years ago, and whole wheat popovers appeared on the table one morning. They didn’t pop quite as high, but they were delicious, and I enjoyed thinking that I was eating a healthier breakfast as I spooned some scrambled eggs into half a popover.
They are just as easy to make as ordinary popovers. Just make sure you follow these two basic rules. First, the eggs and milk must be at WARM room temperature; seventy degrees is too cool. Second, don’t beat the batter too long.
1/2 cup plus 1 T whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup plus 4 tsp. milk
2 tsp. vegetable oil
3 large eggs
Make sure that the baking rack in your oven is in or slightly below the center position. Preheat the oven to 450º. Grease the popover pan lightly and place it in the oven to heat.
While the oven is heating, put the unbroken eggs in a small bowl and cover them with very warm water from the tap. Let them sit for at least five minutes. Warm the milk on the range or in the microwave until it feels slightly warm to the touch.
Mix the flours and salt together in a one quart measuring cup or bowl. Add the warm milk, oil and eggs and beat the batter with an electric mixer for eleven seconds (NO MORE) on high. Take the mixer out of the bowl and stir the batter slowly with a fork to mix in any remaining large dry clumps. Small lumps are OK.
Take the hot pan from the oven and fill the cups evenly; they should be one-half to two-thirds full. Put the pan into the hot oven, turn the heat down to 425º and bake twenty minutes. Reduce the heat to 350º and continue baking the popovers for another twenty minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DURING BAKING. PERIOD.
Remove the pan from the oven, let it cool for fifteen or twenty seconds, remove the popovers from the pan and serve them while they are still hot. Give each popover a gentle twist to loosen it. A table knife works to loosen stubborn popovers. If you want, cut a small slit in the side of each popover to release the steam.
NOTES: The eggs and milk must be warm. The oven door must remain closed during the entire baking period. Have faith. They will pop. You can make popovers in an ordinary muffin pan, but they don’t pop as high.