Saturday, September 11, 2010

testing the $3 popover pan

While dropping of some stuff at a thrift store I made my usual book and electronics scavenging run and found a nearly mint condition "professional quality" black steel popover pan in the original box for $3! (I was looking at more than books and bits, obviously.) The heavy black steel is supposed to lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees and decrease the baking time by 10% or more.

For starters I tried the recipe on the front of the box. At the time I didn't have any all-purpose flour so I figured I'd experiment with what I had: whole wheat pastry flour and white whole wheat flour. I also added the "speck of soda" penned in by the previous owner. I wasn't surprised when this didn't produce the ideal result. Probably any significant proportion of whole wheat with its jagged shards of bran is going to prevent the batter from capturing the steam that makes the popover pop. They did puff to a degree, but the interior was fairly solid. Still, they were light and tasty, like a whole wheat German pancake.

After restocking the cupboard with unbleached AP flour I tried again, omitting the soda speck. Now that I think about it, the author of that modification surely meant baking powder, not soda. Perfect results this time.

Alton Brown's popover recipe in I'm Just Here For More Food is a little different, adding some butter, using some water and less milk, and using one less egg. I'll have to try that next.

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