Cooking & Baking

Sugar-Crusted Popovers

There is nothing more magical to me than mixing up a few ingredients, popping them in the oven and watching them rise. Of all the recipes I’ve tested, none is so satisfying as the popover. Such a humble batter, and yet, up, up, up they rise. I love popovers with dinner as a substitute for rolls. Their hollow interiors make for the perfect mashed potato scoop or gravy receptacle. But their utility oh so exceeds these tasks!

I started thinking about popovers and their transformation into a sweet delicacy long ago, but only recently began experimenting with the idea. As a rule, I prefer pastry that isn’t overly sweet and saccharine. Thus, a dessert popover as a perfect morsel of balanced flavor. The savory, bready goodness with a hit of buttery sweetness was just what the doctor ordered. Combine that with their uniquely empty insides and you have the makings of something really spectacular. This recipe calls for a non-stick popover pan, but never fear, if you don’t have one, a standard muffin pan will definitely do the trick. If you go the muffin pan route, you will need to fill only the outer cups with batter and reduce the cooking time slightly (about 5 minutes). So let’s rise to the occasion, forgive the pun, and bake some popovers!

Sugar-Crusted Popovers (Yield: 12 popovers)


3 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

188g all purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 oz. (2 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted

~1/3 cup granulated sugar

Non-stick cooking spray 


1. Preheat oven to 450F. Arrange oven rack in lowest position and place popover or muffin pan on it.

2. Make sure your eggs and milk are at room temperature. (You can submerge the eggs in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes to achieve this. Milk can be nuked for about 45 seconds to 1 minute.)  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Add vanilla and whisk until mixture is very foamy, about 1 minute. You want to incorporate a lot of air into the batter.     4. Mix flour, salt and sugar together and add to egg mixture. Using your whisk, combine everything together. If there are a few small lumps in the batter, that is totally acceptable. There should still be lots of bubbles in the finished batter.  5. Remove popover pan from oven and liberally coat with cooking spray.   6. Fill about 3/4 of each cup with batter. I used a ladle for this step, but you could use a measuring cup or glass to make it easier.  7. Place the pan back in the oven and bake 15-20 minutes until risen and starting to brown. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and bake another 15-20 minutes until popovers are golden brown and dry to the touch. (The insides will remain slightly doughy.)  8. Remove the popovers from the oven and immediately turn them out of their cups. With a sharp pairing knife, make a small puncture in the side of each popover to allow the steam to escape. This helps the popovers stay nice and crispy.  9. Brush the melted butter onto the top of each popover (or the whole darn thing if you prefer!) and coat with the second measure of granulated sugar.     10. They are done and ready to eat now, or you could do as I did and cut them in half and fill with a scoop of your favorite ice cream or gelato.   ***If bread and ice cream sounds strange or off putting to you, it shouldn’t! Italians serve their gelato in rolls of sweet, fluffy bread and it’s a heavenly experience!***

I really hope you guys try this recipe. It’s such a great item to know how to make, and it’s one that can really impress at a dinner party! If you do take this one on, make sure you bake the popovers right before you want to eat them. Like all great things, the magic of popovers doesn’t last long, and they won’t be great the next day. (Although you could probably tear up day-old popovers and make a breakfast pastry concoction with them. I’m picturing popover monkey bread or popover bread pudding…)

What do you all think of popovers? Do you love their airy, sky-high greatness like I do, or do you prefer a denser, sweeter pastry? Let me know how they turn out if you give them a try!  

Just baking and eating, baking and eating – Cassie

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