popovers (yet again)

Popovers - 3 ingredients (not including salt).  This is a food challenge I dream of.  Last time I spun out of control in pursuit of this ethereal delicacy it was for a friendsgiving in 2012.  Despite some good batches, I still realized too much of the dreaded post bake popover collapse.

I was inspired to resurrect this battle after an episode of @GuyFieri's TripleD (I happen to be Guy's only fan in the world, I watch marathon sessions of TripleD Friday nights).  A cook in a diner made gruyere and pepper popovers that looked fantastic and demonstrated a prep in which I gleaned some key information.  
  • Ingredients - (good consensus) eggs 100 g, flour 135 g, milk 120 g, salt 3 g, mix, lumps allowed. This produces a pourable batter.  I placed my ingredients in a used water bottle and shook it to mix.  This diner chef stated all ingredients need to be at room temperature.  This is what I thought might be 1 key piece of information.  Given that eggs and milk are stored in the fridge, I wondered if past attempts utilized a room temp batter.  This time, I mixed the batter and decided to wait until it was at room temp, hours if necessary - I figured the worst that could happen is it could start to ferment and/or I'd get nil rise.
  • Pan - popover pan, I use this one - same as the one in TripleD.
  • Preheating - preheat pan to baking temp, 375F. 
  • Lube - The chef on TripleD spray-lubed the preheated pan.  I added a tablespoon of vegetable oil into the bottom of each cup prior to adding the batter.
  • Baking - Removed preheated pan from the oven, lubed each cup and poured in batter.  I noticed the diner chef took her time, filled each cup with batter and then added a few chunks of cheese to the top of the batter followed by cracked pepper.  I was surprised there was no rush to get the hot pan back in the oven.  I did the same, pouring the batter into the middle of the pool of vegetable oil in the bottom of each cup (this oils the cup as it fills with batter).  I only made 3 at a time and used a tablespoon of reggiano instead of gruyere and a bunch of coarse cracked pepper (crushed on my cutting board).  I took my time and placed the filled pan back in the 375F oven.
  • Baking time - 45 minutes to an hour!!  I can't recall seeing any temp/time profile like this, I figured they'd burn.  But no, both runs went well.  
That's it!  Mix ingredients, shake well, let batter sit at least until it hits room temp - I used mine with good results at 3 hours and 9 hours aged.  Pour into prepared pan (preheated to 375) to fill cups to 3/4 full, top (or not) with cheese, bake in 375F oven for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven, gently pull them out of their baking cups, eat immediately.

Added all ingredients using a funnel to this 1L HDPE bottle and shook it vigorously.

After 375 for 50 minutes.  These were the parmesan/pepper popovers.  Added ingredients become embedded into the surface of the popped cap of the popover.  

Characteristic steamy light interior, exterior firm, slightly crunchy/crisp.  These were made with the batter aged at 3 hours.

Eventually, at 9 hours aged, my batter started to look separated and runny.  I decided to try it anyway, preheated the pan and prepared for another run.  I filled the popover cups and topped them with some finely diced apples I sauteed in butter and sugar.  The popovers were just as lofty as before and didn't collapse a bit upon exit from the oven.  

I consider popovers a finished project and now look forward to building different fillings into them, e.g., pour batter, add topping, pour more batter, bake and see if I can get the filling tucked inside rather than embedded on top.  Maybe I'll even tuck a meatball inside - but I fear the results.  If it works I might die from euphoria.  I might wait for that one.

Buy a popover pan and make these.  

/drops mic