Yorkshire Pudding or Popovers?

Have you ever tried Popovers? Some of you might know this pastry as Yorkshire pudding. It is an old traditional British dish, made of flour, eggs, and milk. In the past it was served as a first course to help 'fill the stomach' so that those eating would eat less of the beef. A page from Traditional Food in Yorkshire by Peter Brears. (Totnes: Prospect Books 2014)

Yorkshire Pudding was cooked under a meat dish so that the drippings could give it flavor. It is not known when the first Yorkshire pudding was first created but an early account of the recipe is found in Hannah Glass's 1747 recipe book, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.

Popovers are an American variation on the British Yorkshire Pudding. It is an eggy, buttery pastry that is filled with air. Though popovers are still served here with beef and gravy, they are also served for breakfast with jam. Growing up in the Southwest, I had never heard of popovers until I was newly married and visiting my In-laws in New England. At a Sunday lunch I experienced the rich, yet light and airy, deliciousness of popovers drizzled in prime rib fat. My mother-in-law scooped out the drippings and drizzled them over the tin before heating the pan and filling it with batter and while you can do this, I prefer to coat it in butter. The method of heating the pan until it is 'hissing hot' before the batter is put in allows the batter to steam internally which causes it to rise and puff up. If your pan is too cold you will not get this affect. But also do not heat it so long that you burn the butter.

Popovers have a poshness that make them a wonderful accompaniment to dress up any beef dinner. And though you can bake popovers in a muffin tin, authentic popovers are baked in special baking cups that are narrow and deep so that the pastry fills with air and rises tall. This gives them their wonderful texture and distinctive appearance. If you choose to bake popovers in a muffing tin you will get a lower the rise, which means the pastry will be denser, and the pastry will have less of a hollow center.


You will need:

butter, softened

1 cup whole milk

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 cup flour

In a mixing bowl, mix together milk, eggs, and salt until mixture is foamy. Slowly add the flour. Mix until incorporated. Cover batter and let rest for 30 minutes. Resting improves the texture and height of the pastry. Heat oven to 450 f. Generously coat the inside of the popover cups with butter allowing about 1 teaspoon for each cup. When you are ready to bake, preheat the popover pan by placing it in the oven until it hisses. Watch it carefully, this should only take a few minutes. Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and pour the batter into the cups. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350f and bake for 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.