Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dinner Parties/Parmiggiano Popovers

Parmiggiano popovers, braised short ribs, homemade tagliatelle, sauteed broccolini, balsamic glazed cippolini onions and finally, chocolate-croissant bread pudding. If you're mouth isn't watering yet, you should know that this is a very real menu and one which I made this past Friday for a group of 10 friends. If I may humbly stroke my own ego, dinner was awesome. I could not have been happier and I am pretty sure that my guests left as well fed and satisfied as I could have hoped. The only problem with this dinner is that I have no pictures to show for it. Well no pictures except for the ones of these popovers, which I have deemed the best part of the meal (only because I get to showcase them here). Do not despair; I will be remaking a lot of the dishes so that I can post recipes and pictures, so consider the 'menu' a tease of what's to come on TBD. In the meantime, let's get back to the popovers.

These popovers do really deserve a whole post's worth of attention, actually I would say that they might even deserve two posts worth of attention, but I don't want to be boring. I planned, unplanned and replanned Friday's dinner about 25 million times before I finally settled on a menu and these popovers were a very last minute decision. Not usually an impulsive person, I sure am glad that I decided to make these fluffy little guys on a whim, because they are officially my obsession of the week. And I am not just saying that because I actually have pictures of them. To me, popovers have always been that special treat that restaurants serve in their breadbaskets instead of boring old bread, but I knew that a homemade version could only be better, fresher and more satisfying. I was right.

I have always had plain popovers, but I couldn't resist adding some cheese to these and I have absolutely no regrets about that (shocker!). These bulbous, muffin-looking things 'pop' because of all the steam created on the inside, hence the name. Although they are hollow from all this steam action, I assure you that you're still getting the best part of the deal. The exterior is slightly chewy with a notable egginess that makes it taste almost like a souffle, only breadier. The sprinkle of parmiggiano on top melts just enough to impart its rich and nutty flavor, but also adds a little bit of crunch. Clearly the taste and texture on these is fantastic, but the second best part is that these are so easy to make that I can't really imagine every having a dinner party without them from here on out. Even if you're not a baker, make these, don't let them scare you, they pop on their own and once they come out of the oven the only thing you should be scared of is how many of these you're going to want to eat.

Parmiggiano Popovers
(adapted from Martha Stewart who got it from Laurent Tourondel of BLT)
yield 28 popovers, in a standard muffin tin

•This recipe claims to make 12 popovers but I can't imagine what size popover tins they used. I used standard muffin tins, which work just as well, and I had about 28 popovers. For this reason, if you're using a standard muffin tin I highly suggest halving the recipe, as these really aren't as good the next day.
•I prepared the batter a few hours ahead of time to minimize the amount of cooking I was doing with my guests there. Keep in mind that these have to bake for 50 minutes, so take that into account when you're timing your dinner service.

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt
4 cups milk
8 large eggs
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese (gruyere can also work)

1) Place a popover pan with 12 cups in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
2) Sift together flour and salt onto a piece of parchment paper; set aside.
3) In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Whisk eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Slowly add heated milk to eggs, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in flour mixture.
4) Remove heated popover pan from oven; spray each cup with nonstick cooking spray and place on a baking sheet. Fill each cup with batter so it is level to the top; top with cheese.
5) Bake 15 minutes. Rotate pan 180 degrees; continue baking until golden brown, about 35 minutes more.
6) Invert pan and remove popovers. Serve immediately. Popovers may also be made 2 hours in advance. Cool on a wire rack and reheat in an oven heated to 450 degrees just before serving.


Stefi Lara said...

I'll make you a deal... Remake that dinner, and I'll let you take some pictures!!

Everything sounds and looks amazing FrenchieTBD!!!

pdc said...

Sounds all so yummy, the reason that they tell you that it is only for 12 popovers is because at BLT they re gigantic, I am not lying gigantic, would not be surprised that they use small souffle pans

DuckyCooking said...

This looks lovely! I've never had popovers, or even heard about them (Scandinavian speaking), but I'm going to try these as I love fresh bread and cheese and, well, that's all I need. What did you serve with these? I'm thinking some sort of soup with lots of meat (beef) and vegetables would be nice...

Anonymous said...

oooh these sound DELICIOUS! speaking of impromptu addition to tonight's dinner ... ;) thanks!

Limes said...

Popovers are traditionally made in a popover tin. The individual cups are 2 or 3 times larger than that of a muffin cup. Because popovers are hollow, they are usually big. They condense down to almost nothing - therefore the big tin. You can google popover pan to see what I'm talking about.

Memória said...

These popovers look amazing. Bookmarked!

Anonymous said...

Mmm, yummy. I've never had popovers, but yours seem so intriguing and delicious, that I simply must soon. Plus I have some cheese I need to use up.
Also, that was an absolutely amazing menu for a dinner party, you have every right to stroke your own ego (though not too much, now ;).

~Kurious Kitteh