david lebovitz’s sugar-crusted popovers

A couple months ago, David Lebovitz posted a recipe for sugar-crusted popovers, which I immediately bookmarked in my, “Ooh, those look good!” file.  With school, traveling, and life, I forgot about them until, well, now.

I haven’t used my muffin tin in a while.  The cupcakes I posted about were made at my mom’s house, and other than those I don’t remember the last time I made a muffin or a cupcake.  It was so nice to pull out the muffin tin, butter the nine bowls, and admire its little rust spots and dings.  This is a happy, well-used muffin tin.

I like things baked in muffin tins, or things prepared into individual portions generally.  It’s an amazing sense of accomplishment for me to survey 30 servings of spanakopita, or 24 iced cupcakes, or the multitude of Christmas cake pops.  Cookies don’t do it for me in the same way, unless they need to be iced or decorated.  The accomplishment comes in the repetition of a process, which I get with these popovers.  Once they’re baked, you brush them with butter and roll them in cinnamon sugar.  Pioneer Woman has a similar recipe for French Breakfast Puffs that are less popover-like and more muffin-like, but still delicious.  I’ve made them several times, but Handsome now prefers these.

I’ll be honest:  I’ve never had a popover.  I don’t know what one is supposed to taste like, look like, or feel like.  I’m unaware of the appropriate texture.  I’m not able to tell you how these compare to other popovers you may have had, but they tasted like nothing so much as a fried, sugary donut.  Except it’s baked!  The donut similarity was a nice surprise for me, and invites lots of variations.  The addition of nutmeg or cinnamon to the batter, rolling in glaze and sprinkles….

The preparation, however, left a bit to be desired in my kitchen.  A blender is recommended for beating the ingredients together.  I don’t have a blender.  I have a tiny food processor, and I hit its limit making these popovers.  I received the food processor as a gift, and I love it.  It’s wonderful.  But it’s very, very tiny, so I should have either halved this recipe or made it in two batches.  I was too busy running around to find washcloths for the pool of batter that appeared out of nowhere below my food processor to take a photo, but suffice it to say that I could have gotten ten popovers out of this recipe had I been able to use a blender and not made the world’s largest medium-sized mess.

If you have a blender, though, this recipe is so, so easy.  No bowls, no mixing by hand, nothing hard.  Just toss in all the ingredients but the flour, mix, toss in the flour, mix, and pour into greased muffin tins.

In David Lebovitz’s photos, his popovers sink quite a bit in the center.  Mine did not.  They puffed up a lot, actually, and only dented a little in the center.  After reading some of the comments on his post, though, I think that may be okay.  I didn’t mind, in any case.  Be prepared for a very eggy flavor, which took me by surprise initially.

Sugar-Crusted Popovers
Adapted from David Lebovitz

You will need:

2 tbsp. melted butter
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk (David recommends whole; I used 2% and they came out fine)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 c. flour

Preheat oven to 400, and grease 9 cups in a muffin tin.

Combine all ingredients except flour in a blender or food processor and blend a few seconds. 

Add flour to blender, all at once, and blend until smooth.

Fill nine muffin cups about 2/3 full.

Bake 30-35 minutes (I baked mine a little less than 30), until popovers are dark, golden brown.

Remove from pan as soon as popovers are cool enough to handle, and cool on wire rack.  They will deflate a little; that’s okay.

Sugar coating
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. melted butter

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and whisk to blend.  When popovers are cool enough to handle, brush each popover all over (even on the bottom) with melted butter and roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture until coated.


Thanks to David Lebovitz for allowing me to adapt this recipe for this site.

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