These actually are not popovers. They have a French name I cannot find. Popovers are a pastry made with egg and milk and flour in a thin batter. They puff up when baked forming a hollow inside that can be filled with all sorts of yummy goodness, savory or sweet. Éclairs are a type of popover.
This recipe involves boiling water and thus is a very different type of pastry. But Americans are not usually familiar with the finer points of French cooking. I am no exception. It was my mother who told me about the French version.
Anyway, they turn out similar. I find this recipe more reliable than the regular American popover, which is very fussy about the baking pan and ingredients and will fail about 2 times out of 3. I have only had these fail once out of dozens of attempts. They are a favorite for weekend mornings at my house.
1 cup water
1/2 cup fat
1/3 cup rice flour, white or whole grain
1/3 cup starchy flour like potato starch, corn starch, sweet sorghum flour, tapioca
1/3 cup protein flour like oat, garbanzo/fava, other bean flours, or more rice flour. (I have made these with just oat and rice with good results)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
Pre-heat oven to 450. Really, that hot.
Put the water and fat into a pan and boil the water. The type of fat depends a little on the eventual use for these. If savory, rendered chicken or goose fat works well. If sweet, butter, lard(bacon grease), or shortening. I have never used an oil and don’t recommend it. But if you do, please let me know how they turn out.
While the water is heating, place the dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix a little.
When the water is boiling and all the fat is melted, add it all at once to the flour and immediately stir until it forms a ball that comes away from the sides of the bowl. I like a wooden spoon for this step. If there isn’t enough rice flour, or of the water isn’t boiling this will never happen. I have corrected too cool water by putting the whole mess in the microwave for a minute and stirring again.
Let the dough cool slightly before adding eggs.
Get out your electric hand mixer. I suppose it might be possible to do this by hand but I never tried. You could use an electric stand mixer too.
Add the first egg to the hot dough and mix until you can’t see streaks of yellow yolk. Add the next egg and repeat for each egg. It really does make a big difference to add them one at a time. I crack them into a cup and then check for shells before I put them in.
At this point your batter might be lumpy or smooth, thick or thin. Don’t worry too much about that. If you got the dough ball they will still rise.
Place into muffin cups. Silicone works well, or greased metal muffin cups. If you have a popover pan give that a try. They do stick to metal a lot so I like silicone, either in the form of individual ‘papers’ that go in a regular pan or a whole silicone pan. A silicone pan is floppy and has to sit on a cookie tray. Fill the cups about half full, maybe 2/3. This is way less picky than in regular popovers.
Makes about 12 – 14.
Place into hot oven. make sure they have enough room. You don’t want your pan to block circulation in there.
Cook for 20 minutes at 450 then turn it down to 350 and cook for another 20 minutes. You don’t have to peak after the first 20 to make sure they popped, but I always do.
When they are done take them out of the oven. What happens next depends a bit on your pan. If silicone, turn out immediately. Just flip it over and they will all fall out.
If a metal pan, wait about 1 minute, then try to turn them out. They might just fall, but you might have to work at it a bit. Run a butter knife around the edges of stubborn ones. If they cool too long they will stick like cement. It helps to grease the top of the pan as well as the insides of the cups.
As with most gluten free things, these are best when very fresh, but my son likes them even after 12 hours.
I usually serve them with butter and honey or jam for breakfast. Or honey butter. They would be good filled with whipped cream, or chicken, egg or salmon salad. Or custard. You could serve them as a dinner roll, or along side a stew. You could make tiny ones and stuff them for appetizers. (adjust cooking times)