HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - city of big bottoms and small minds.

Friday, July 2, 2010

IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT POP OVER

For the pst month or so I have been experimenting in the kitchen in search of the perfect pop over.

My wife, nor I , for that matter, do not like pop overs that are gooey inside and of course, no one likes a pop over that doesn't really rise magnificently. Overcoming pop overs that didn't actually "pop" was my first exercise in problem solving. I started by experimenting with different kinds of receptacles for the pop overs to bake in. I tried custard cups, miniature "flower pots" and finally the black metal pop over cups that come six to a rack.

I was not happy with any of the above. The black metal tins produced the best pop overs as far as size is concerned, but it seemed no matter how much I seasoned the cups, they had a tendency to stick and really stick badly.

Then I had a very good pottery expert, David Carradori, fashion me two sets of kiln fired cups, large in size and that was a good start.

Even so, at first I had trouble with the pop overs sticking, especially at the bottom, even though I would butter the cups liberally before pouring the batter into them.

Then I found "Baker's Joy", a "no stick baking spray with flour" which is fat free and comes in a white tubular can with a blue cap. This has solved the sticking problem entirely!

I also discovered that to lessen the chances of the pop overs failing to "pop over", there were several important steps to be taken:

1. Always use very fresh eggs and milk.
2. Do not over fill the cup - fill to about two thirds, maxImum.
3. Do not over mix the ingredients. ( I use an ordinary fork to gently beat the ingredients together until there is a mixture that holds together but not entirely smooth.
4. Start with a cold oven.
5. Set your temp at 400 degrees.

In addition to the flour, milk, eggs, salt, and melted butter, I also add about a teaspoon of granulated sugar before sifting the dry ingredients. This helps to brown the pop over magnificently and adds a little bit of sweetness to the finished product.

How do you know when a pop over is done? I don't use a set time. I use my nose as my first indication that they are close. After that, I keep the oven light on and check every few minutes to see how the browning is coming along.

The final step is to pull the oven grate out, take a fork and aggressively puncture the top of each pop over and then return them to the still heating oven for an additional three to five minutes. this allows the inside of the pop over to dry out and produces a very crispy pop over.

I serve pop overs with plenty of butter at room temperature as I like to slather my pop overs with butter! Pop overs are delicious with just butter - or my two favorite condiments - honey and strawberry or blueberry jam.

Thus endeth my little baking lesson for the day!

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