I encountered Very Intriguing Man last weekend and the subject of popovers again came up (see my previous post about the Popover vs. Donut face-off). We briefly spoke about my excessive disappointment in Lucia’s popovers and why he is such a popovers fan, especially over donuts. I was a little taken aback by how sound and logical his rationale was, and it got me thinking about popovers all over again. There’s just something about Very Intriguing Man and the popover matter that draws me in. And I am apparently powerless to Very Intriguing Man’s intrigue because I went out two days later and made my very own homemade popovers in an effort to really do this battle justice.
And here it is. It can happen, and I’m a big enough person to admit it. ::inhale:: I was wrong about popovers.
Let me first explain Very Intriguing Man’s reasoning behind choosing popovers. He is a very athletic person, and having recently completed my first triathlon, I can relate to and sympathize with many of the concerns faced by athletic people. He said he doesn’t consume any sugars at breakfast and looks for high protein breakfast items both to benefit his workouts and to maintain his physique. So he says he doesn’t eat donuts. And that makes complete sense to me: I’ve recently been trying to cut down on carbohydrates and increase protein intake myself so I can’t argue with that. Though I think his stigma around eating donuts and getting obese is completely misplaced, popovers are mostly eggs and are a good high-protein, low-carb breakfast choice. I have many personal eating philosophies such as all things in moderation and exempting fruit sugars from my carb cutting and allowing for occasional guiltless indulgences that all have added to the donut vs. popover matter, but those will have to wait for another time, because I’m here to talk about the popovers.
Using the Lucia’s Restaurant recipe for popovers, I mixed up half the recipe in a blender. I followed the recipe closely except I used a muffin tin instead of a popover pan. I didn’t have one readily available and was too fixated on the popovers to delay them further in a hunt for a popover pan. “Pat of butter” is a rather ambiguous measurement, but I erred on the side of too much (if there can be such a thing when butter is involved) and it seemed to be enough. 25 minutes and then another 5 in the over and ::poof:: I had made popovers. I think the extra 5 minutes after taking the popovers out of the oven are key.
And holy crap, were those little popovers tasty! Fresh, hot, steamy, crunchy, eggy. Everything wonderful I’d ever heard popovers could be. And it felt like I was eating something out of a bakery case that should be mostly flour and sugar but was instead eggs and milk. The crunch of the crust really satisfied my taste for bakery items. And it all made sense: I had found adequate reasons why someone would choose popovers over donuts. I’m not saying popovers win or I will replace my donuts with them, but I see popovers appeal and value.
But after 30 minutes on the counter, the popovers had already started to lose a lot of their magic. They still had some crunch, but it just wasn’t the same. I agree with the Sweet Rush Baker when she said popovers really have to be eaten fresh out of the oven and still steaming. I’m not sure how an establishment could commercially produce and sell high quality, fresh out of the oven popovers, but I do know it would be quite the challenge, as I learned unfortunately at Lucia’s To-Go.
I don’t think anything will ever replace donuts in my heart, but this was the battle I was looking for. Popovers put up a delicious fight and have their own unique merits which will, on occasion, make me choose to cook them over donuts. Since I made them the first time, I’ve already made two more batches of popovers. I’m still looking for a good restaurant popover and have put a few restaurants on the list that serve them. All in all, a satisfying battle that now leaves lucky me with two good breakfast treats to crave, search out, cook, and share instead of just one.