It has been nearly a year since I brought home this popover pan. Mr. Pedantic had simply begged for it to be added to my overflowing collection of bakeware, and I willingly obliged. Neither of us had ever tasted a popover, but that fact only increased our anticipation.
Saturday morning after Saturday morning flew by, and we both soon forgot about the new pan and our dreams of puffy pastries.
It was only recently, upon digging through my disorderly drawer of pans that I remembered our forgotten culinary quest.
Here is the thing. As darling as popovers look and sound, the general ingredient list did not in any way excite me. There is not much thrill in a plain egg batter. So, I knew that if this endeavor was going to be worth its salt, I had to bring a bit of my own creative pizazz to the situation.
Pizazz, in my mind, always means butter, often means brown sugar, and sometimes includes bacon.
While I will always turn my nose up to bacon-covered doughnuts and chocolate-smothered rashers, I do love the sweet and salty combination of maple syrup and bacon. Sweeping my forkful of pancakes and bacon through a plate sticky with maple syrup is one of life's great pleasures, and that is precisely what this bacon praline tastes of.
If you have never made praline before, I can promise you that it is the simplest of candies. The general difficulty with candy making is avoiding sugar crystallization, but in the case of praline, that is just what we are shooting for. It is truly a one pot wonder, and just the thing to transform a simple popover into something spectacular.
The first thing that I learned during this recipe testing process was that popovers are incredibly simple. I opted to make my batter in the blender which only added to the ease of this recipe.
The second bit of knowledge I gained was that popovers have a very small window of optimal consumption. We are talking roughly ten minutes, so make sure you have the coffee ready.
As soon as the puffy pastries come out of the oven, they are submerged in butter and rolled around in our crumbled bacon pecan praline that has been mixed with just a bit of confectioner's sugar to help it adhere to the popovers. It is the very best kind of sprinkles.
This is my early weekend gift to you.
BACON PECAN PRALINE POPOVERS
basic popover recipe adapted from Ina Garten / basic praline recipe adapted from TheKitchn
FOR THE PRALINE
- 2 rashers cooked bacon, crumbled*
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
Cook's Note: I like to cook my bacon in the oven. Set your oven to 375 degrees and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set a cooling rack over the baking sheet and lay the bacon rashers on the rack. Bake for 15-18 minutes; until crisp. Crumble the bacon and carefully pour the drippings into a small container.
Prepare a large baking sheet by lining with aluminum foil and spraying lightly with nonstick spray.
Combine crumbled bacon, granulated and brown sugars, milk, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, chopped pecans, and bacon drippings in a heavy bottomed 3-quart saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Fit the pan with a candy thermometer.
Cook the syrup, stirring often, until it comes to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, begin stirring constantly for approximately 3 minutes, until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F. Watch closely as this will go quickly!
Immediately remove the pan from the heat, detach the candy thermometer, and begin stirring rapidly! Keep stirring until the mixture has thickened and has lost its luster. When the praline looks dull and milky in color, pour onto the prepared baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
Cook's Note: You can speed up the cooling process by setting the baking sheet atop a cooling rack!
After the praline has cooled, break it up into pieces and place in the work bowl of your food processor, along with the confectioner's sugar. Pulse until the mixture is in fine crumbs. Store in a ziplock bag until ready to use!
Cook's Note: You can make the praline up to one day in advance.
FOR THE POPOVERS
- 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (plus extra for greasing the pan)
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cook's Note: While waiting for eggs and milk to come to room temperature may seem like an unnecessary bother, this is actually an important step. If the milk and eggs are straight from the fridge, they will cause the melted butter to solidify, leading to a lumpy batter. I suggest pulling the eggs and milk out of the fridge just before you make the praline so that they are ready to go when you begin the batter!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place popover pan in the preheated oven to warm for five minutes. In the meantime, prepare the batter.
Combine all ingredients in the base of your blender and pulse until smooth. Use a paper towel to rub the inside of each popover cup with a small amount of butter.
Pour the batter into the popover cups, filling each only halfway so that they have plenty of room to rise.
Bake for exactly thirty minutes and do not open the oven at any point. It will be hard to resist, but this is an important step.
In the meantime, make a pot of coffee because as soon as these come out of the oven they are ready to eat!
Remove the popovers from the oven and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, until just cool enough to handle.
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- prepared praline crumble
Place praline crumble in a shallow bowl.
Dip one side of each popover into the melted butter, then dip into the praline crumble, pressing the crumble slightly so that it adheres to the outside of the popovers. Serve immediately with strong coffee and good friends!*
Cook's Note: Popovers have a very small window of optimal consumption. I find that they are best eaten within ten minutes of their coming out of the oven. This may not sound like long, but trust me, you will not have any problem polishing them off!