Plain popovers are amazing. They are also fun. I still get excited every time I open the oven and see how a simple batter turns into glorious, golden rolls rising way over the top of the pan. People often tell me they are afraid to make popovers because they mistakenly think anything that rises so high must fall, like a souffle. But I can assure you if you bake them until they are deep golden brown, they will barely deflate, if at all. Unlike a souffle, they are even better reheated until the edges are crispy.
Plain popovers are great, but now that I've come up with Pepper Jack & Chive Popovers, plain popovers seem, well, plain. Once you know how to make a popover, which is simply a mixture of milk, eggs and flour, it makes good sense to add some flavorings. Once you try flavoring popovers, you may never be satisfied with plain ones again. (For my tips and recipe on basic popovers, see Over the Top Popovers.)
PEPPER JACK & CHIVE POPOVERS
Adding cheese to popover batter results in rolls that are a little denser with a more bread-like texture. This recipe makes 6 large popovers in a standard popover pan or 10 smaller ones in a mini popover pan, standard muffin tin, or 1/2 cup custard cups.
1½ cups whole, low-fat or nonfat milk
3 large eggs
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 to 2½ tablespoons minced chives
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, optional
6 tablespoons shredded pepper jack cheese
Heat the milk in a saucepan or the microwave until hot, but not boiling. Mix the eggs in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, a blender or a food processor. While mixing, gradually pour in the hot milk. Add the flour, Parmesan cheese, chives, salt and pepper; mix on low until thoroughly incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. Mix in melted butter, if using. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Position oven rack in the middle or lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Place the popover pan, standard muffin tin or custard cups in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes then remove from oven and spray the sides and top edges with pan spray.
Whisk the batter well and divide among the cups, filling almost to the top. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the pepper jack cheese over the top of each large popover, 1/2 tablespoon over the small ones. Bake until puffed and deeply browned, about 35 minutes for small popovers, or about 45 minutes for large ones. The longer they bake, the less they will deflate. If they are browning unevenly the last 10 minutes, rotate the pan.
Remove popovers from pan and serve.
MAKE AHEAD: For crisper popovers, remove them to a rimmed baking sheet where they can be held uncovered for up to 4 hours. Before serving, reheat at 450° for 3-5 minutes or until hot and crispy.
Makes 6 large or 10 small popovers.
See also Lemon Almond Popovers.