Praise for Helen and Gluten-Free PopoversPosted: January 13, 2012
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, my childhood was embodied by two delicious eggy pastries (or pastry-esque items): ‘Rolly-rollies’ and Popovers. The thin French crepes and milder Yorkshire puddings hid in my baking repertoire for years, without my knowing that both nicknames disguised–to my lesser-travelled ears–‘exotic’ and difficult masterpieces. But whatever you may call them, these delicious recipes have earned many fans among family and friends over the years. My love for both of these is the direct responsibility of my maternal great-grandmother, Helen.
The granddaughter of Norwegian immigrants, Helen, from all recounts, was a formidable force throughout her life. From the general love of her recipes through the generations, I think I’m safe to assume she was an even more formidable cook. She passed on the original (gluten-filled) recipes to my grandmother, who taught my mother. And the love grew. These two were the most requested foods growing up and still remain some of my favorites to share, especially now that I’ve mastered gluten-free versions of both, with a lot of help found in the online Gluten-Free community.
Unlike my lucky success with her crepe recipe, the single egg in the original Popover recipe doesn’t quite have the strength to lift the heavy, moisture-sucking gluten-free flours. Countless failed attempts have transpired over my 16 months of baking gluten-free. But I finally found the Holy Grail of GF Popovers recipes in the Thanksgiving/Fall Issue of Living Without Magazine. I was quite disappointed during my Thanksgiving post, when I tried to link the recipe, and found it was withheld to LivingWithout.com‘s register users. But after expounding on crepes, I checked again, and the recipe has been released!
So here, without further ado, is my idea of the perfect popover recipe:
I leave out the herbs when I make them. I’m a purist. If you are having some trouble (or have as temperamental an oven as mine) try turning down the oven temp by 50 degrees F halfway through the bake time without opening the oven. Don’t interrupt that rise! If its still not quite to your taste, try Living Without’s Yorkshire Puddings. They’re almost the same, but might be tweaked enough to appease your tastebuds.
Here is my modified recipe:
- – 1 c. milk
- -4 eggs
- -1/3 c. tapioca starch/flour
- -2/3 c. white rice flour
- Pinch xanthan gum
- -Dash salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a 12 cup muffin tin in the oven to preheat. Keep the tin warm until you are ready to pour in the batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until well blended. Add tapioca starch/flour, white rice flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Whisk until combined and smooth. Carefully remove hot baking tin from oven. Grease with butter or oil. Pour in batter, filling cups 3/4 full. Place popovers in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then turn the temperature down to 375 degrees for the final 15 minutes. It may be my old, finicky oven, or knowing my mother’s tried-and-true recipe also necessitates a temperature change, but this is the trick that works best for me.
And last, but not least, here’s my seal of approval:
Excuse the overexposure and, instead, marvel at that browned, crispy shell; the undeniable puff. Imagine the soft, eggy interior….
Now quit your daydreams and go make some!