Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pop on Over

Trying to make popovers proved to be a difficult challenge for me for this month's Gluten Free Ratio Rally baking project. Despite the fact that these allegedly tall, crusty and pockety muffiny things are made from only a few simple ingredients, (milk, eggs, flour, butter, a little salt and some xanthan gum), my popovers were flop-overs.

The two batches of popovers I made were edible, but they certainly didn't resemble the gloriously puffy popovers I aspired to on the cover of Nicole Hunn's great GF cookbook, Gluten Free on a Shoestring. Now that is a popover!

What I got from my experiments were sunken in the middle, height-challenged flopovers, though I switched around flours and baking cups. I don't own popover tins, but having read in several different cookbooks that popovers can theoretically rise to majestic heights in regular muffin tins, ramekins or even coffee mugs, I tried all three ways. Sadly, something was amiss with my flop-overs.

My first batch was based on Hunn's basic popover recipe, though the first time around I used equal parts potato starch and white rice flour instead of the 1 cup of all-purpose gluten-free flour called for by Hunn because I thought that might make for a really light popover that would rise and rise and rise.

This is what I got from that first batch:

 They were nice and brown and CRISPY on the outside and somewhat moist and pudding-like on the bottom, but they were definitely concave in the middle. We ate them hot with blackberry jam and enjoyed them, but they needed improvement.

Flop-over batch #2 were baked with a half and half mixture of Bob's Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour and corn flour (with 1/2 tsp. celery seed for added flavor) for a savory and corny tasting popover. Again, edible, but decidedly concave rather than convex in the middle. Hmmm.

So, what should I do differently? Place them in a cold oven rather than a preheated oven as some cookbooks suggest? Bake for a longer time or at a higher temperature? Go ahead and splurge on real popover tins? I am open to suggestions.

I am going to keep at it, because I love the idea of an airy, crisp popover, and I am really looking forward to seeing what my fellow Ratio Rally-ers have come up with. Mrs. R. of Honey from Flinty Rocks will have links to a variety of sweet, savory and spicy popovers back at her blog so be sure to join me in hopping over there to see what successful gluten-free popover baking is all about.


Caneel said...

They look delicious, even if they flopped in the middle! I have always used a cold oven to start my popovers.

Morri said...

Ohhh, these look awesome, Rachel. I can just imagine some sort strawberry shortcake type of dessert, with the popovers acting as "bowls".

Also, I received "Gluten Free on a Shoestring" for Christmas and I wanted to know how you thought about it. :)

Again, awesome job.

<3 M.

Jenn said...

I think they look great - I wish I could help offer advice, but mine were "flopovers" as well... wonderful effort for this month's challenge!

celticjig said...

Even though they are concave,they look light an airy-er than mine!

Eliotseats said...

"Flopovers"? Maybe you have created something new?

maryfran said...

I don't think they look bad at all! Did you use melted butter in your batter? And I had a super hot oven for about 20 minutes for mine...

And maybe using more flour - the lighter flours will weigh less than the one in your referenced recipe..

But, these look yummy. I would pour on some chocolate syrup and eat them up!

Jonathan said...

While our "flopovers" and "popunders" were less than typical of what Ruhlman intended with his popover ratio, I actually found those to be super tasty! Like the fallen souffle and yorkshire pudding, "mistakes" don't have to be a bad thing. And I bet that your corn and celery seed batch tasted awesome. :) Thank you for sharing, Rachel!

Shelby said...

I have great luck with my mini muffin tin (non-stick) but I also haven't tried gluten free....however, I don't think that has anything to do with it. I'm pretty certain its the pan. I'm curious, did you use cooking spray? I very, very lightly spray my pan. I remember my mom telling me not to grease too high up the side of a cake pan because it will make that "edge" you don't want on a cake. Just ideas :)