A popover is a muffin-shaped, flaky quick bread with an oversized top and hollow center—it kind of looks like a chef’s toque—and is made from a thin batter of eggs, milk, and flour. A well-executed popover is golden and flaky on the outside and yields to a warm and soft, buttery inside, or as my hubby says, “It’s like a croissant on steroids.” So why are these delicious beauties so hard to find? “Popovers are really not a bakery item, but more of a restaurant item,” says Jeffrey Kohn, co-owner of The Kneaded Bread in Port Chester. “And they are labor-intensive and don’t serve well after sitting out for long periods of time.”
But fear not. If we’ve successfully whetted your appetite for a warm, fresh-from-the-oven popover, see below for a list of area eateries that offer them. Or, better yet, try whipping up your own batch with a recipe from BLT Steak in White Plains.
Pop in for Popovers
These County eateries can satisfy your popover cravings.
BLT Steak (The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, 221 Main St, White Plains 914-467-5500; bltsteak.com)
The Inside Scoop: Unlimited quantity with dinner or may be picked up for takeout at $2.50 each.
Cooked & Co. (128 Garth Rd, Scarsdale, 914-205-3939; cookedandco.com)
The Inside Scoop: Except for certain holidays, like Thanksgiving, when it sells packs of six for $3.50, popovers are available here only on Saturdays as part of a decadent breakfast sandwich. An open popover is topped with two eggs over easy, bacon, and a Gruyère sauce, and costs $7.50.
Forty Carrots, Bloomingdale’s (175 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains 914-684-6300; bloomingdales.com)
The Inside Scoop: Includes an unlimited quantity with the salad bar at lunch or available for 75 cents each with a meal or to take out.
The Zodiac, Neiman Marcus (2 E Maple Ave, White Plains 914-428-2000; neimanmarcus.com)
The Inside Scoop: Unlimited quantity with lunch or may be picked up for takeout at $2 each. Served with ramekins of homemade strawberry butter.
Popovers, Chez Vous
A printed recipe of BLT Steak’s famous popovers accompanies each serving in the restaurant.
Note: You can use a regular muffin pan, but special popover pans are available for about $20 each from such kitchen-goods stores as Sur La Table at Westchester’s Ridge Hill in Yonkers.
BLT Steak Popovers
4 cups milk, warmed
4 cups flour
1½ heaping Tbsp salt
2¼ cups grated Gruyère
Place pan in oven. Preheat oven to 350° F. Gently warm the milk over low heat and set aside. Whisk the eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in the milk (slowly, so as not to cook the eggs). Set the mixture aside. Sift the flour with the salt. Slowly add the dry mixture to the eggs and combine until mostly smooth. Once combined, remove the popover pan from the oven and spray with nonstick vegetable spray. Fill each popover cup ¾ full and top each with Gruyère. Bake for 50 minutes, rotating pan a half turn after 15 minutes.
Popover vs. Yorkshire Pudding
Perhaps you’ve heard of the popover’s British cousin, the Yorkshire pudding? While technically the across-the-pond version is supposed to be baked in meat drippings and the popover in butter or oil, and the Brit edition might have craters on top to hold gravy, the two have become interchangeable in the States—so much so that popovers are only called Yorkshire puddings when served with a type of roast. But, to confuse things even more, when they are prepared and served by Abbey cook Mrs. Patmore—as they frequently are—on the Edwardian TV series, Downton Abbey, these puffed-up beauties are called popovers and not Yorkshire pudding. An introduction to a recipe—which, by the way, doesn’t include meat drippings—for classic English “popovers” in Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey’s Elegant Meals, notes, “There may not be a more quintessential English dish than the classic English popover…The English version of popovers have a natural crown to them, which is fitting as they were always served when members of the royal family were dinner guests.” Hmm…no mention of Yorkshire pudding. Surely such a historical inaccuracy wouldn’t slip through the cracks on Mad Men.