Popovers have been on my mind for some months, and Sunday's article in The New York Times Magazine (which we received on Saturday), prodded Nancy and I to finally experiment. I Googled popover recipes, looked in Nancy's Joy of Cooking, and decided to go with the Times' recipe (Maida Heatter's from 1966), figuring it must be good since it was tested by Chez Panisse's David Lebovitz (and it had 50% more egg than the other recipes--what could be bad about that?).
Of course, I had to play. Before dinner, we'd run down to Beacon's Artisan Wine Shop to check out Tim and Mei's Saturday tasting. They'd made some mac & cheese to go with the two reds, and as Tim ran down the list of ingredients...what was in it? Pimentón! After a discussion about its addictive qualities, I decided that sweet smoked pepper was going into the batter. (I added 1 tsp., in case you're interested in trying it out).
Perhaps the pimentón contributed to the ultimate not-total-success of the experiment, but we think it may have been the recipe or our inexperience...or both...
The final step tells you to cut slits in the top of the popovers, then return them to the oven. When we initially pulled them out--pre-slit--they were beautiful and perfect. But when we pulled them out post-slit, they deflated...and totally stuck to the pan. Did we need to leave them in longer? Perhaps. But I don't remember my mother ever "popping" the popovers when I was a kid... Mystery.
At least they tasted great, and I think the pimentón added a wonderful depth to the flavor. They weren't just eggy--they were something else entirely. I think next time I'll use my mom's recipe, keep the pimentón, avoid popping them...and remember to take photos.