clean your pans - with power tools

When you do venture to popovers, your muffin tins gotta be clean, really clean.  Hot pan, add oil, no stick - I think Jeff Smith (Frugal Gourmet) said that whenever he cooked on cast iron.  It's true.  Once you learn to clean a pan, you may never have to buy a new one again, the thrift store is overflowing with them.  I use a circulating rough wire brush on my drill and go nuts, the pan can take it.
Before / After - this is a real case, out of our cupboard this morning.

click to embiggen, it's pretty impressive

popover time lapse

When baking something infrequently, I need to practice a little before game day.  The staff here at weber_cam love popovers, so I thought we'd make some in the near future and decided to practice a bit.  Their preparation is often described with a batter, e.g., egg (50 g),  flour (60 g), milk (120 g) and salt (3g), some add butter too (melted, 6 g), whisk, let sit at least a half hour and pour into preheated and lubed muffin tins at a high temp for 20 minutes and finish off with a low temp for 20 min to harden the surface, so they won't cave in.  Incidentally, this prep is everywhere, the earliest I've seen is in Better Homes and Gardens, but I'm pretty sure it's as old as the oven itself.

I HATE preps with two temperatures.  Nothing is more irritating in a busy kitchen and no more likely to fail than two temperatures during a 40 min window.  I tried these at 410F (instead of 425/375) for the whole cook time, worked pretty nice.  No cave-ins at the end.  The batter described above makes about 4-5, and I lubed the muffin tin with a small pat of butter.

ps, Ina Gartner, who, like most Food Network stars I can do without, does have a nearly identical prep with good tips.