Popovers, Puddings and Chocolate!
Mixed Berry and Chocolate Popovers
When is a Yorkshire pudding a dessert, when it is a Popover of course, although I remember having Yorkshire pudding served with jam, honey and golden syrup for Sunday tea, so we also serve our national pudding as a sweet treat too. So what are popovers? Popovers are a well-loved American classic, made with a Yorkshire pudding type batter that are baked in a muffin tin/pan, although you can buy special “popover pans” in the States, that are straight sided rather than slightly angled; they are a usually hollow, light and very puffy, making them the perfect vehicle for adding fillings. Popovers are often served for breakfast, with fruit and syrups, as well as a dessert with whipped cream and as accompaniments to roast meats, just like our Yorkshire puddings. The name “popover” comes from the fact that the batter swells or “pops” over the top of the muffin tin while baking. Another name for them is Lapplander, which comes from the name of the nomadic reindeer herders in Lapland, although why they should be named after Laplanders is something I have not been able to find out.
But back to my recipe for today, a sweet recipe for an indulgent dessert, Mixed Berry and Chocolate Popovers. The recipe I have shared is an adapted recipe that I discovered in the Reader’s Digest Baking Bible cookbook, and id rather special as the popovers have some French “perles de prune” added in them for a chocolatey hit! My perles de prune were part of a “goodie bag” I brought back from a recent press trip to Sarlat, and are made with grapes that have been soaked in “La Vieille Prune”, a local liqueur, before being coated with dark chocolate. Malcolm and I love them and he was most perturbed when I decided to add a few to my popovers! It was a random idea and it worked like a dream – the popovers rose, just as they should do, and the boozy chocolate coated fruit sank to the bottom so you had an amazing molten mess of chocolate and fruit to enjoy whilst eating them.
And why would I add chocolate to my popovers? As I mentioned before, it was a random idea based on the fact that my recipe was part of Dom’s Random Recipes challenge and Choclette’s We Should Cocoa challenge; they both teamed up for February, in an attempt to take over the blogging world no doubt, and so this month’s random recipe theme was chocolate , of course! My randomly selected recipe was on page 51 of the Reader’s Digest Baking Bible, and as the recipe had not a whiff of chocolate in it, I decided to add my own. As my own Tea Time Treats challenge, that I co-host with the lovely Jane, also has a theme of CHOCOLATE this month, I am also adding these to February’s Tea Time Treats challenge.
These wee light and airy treats were enjoyed as a rather naughty dessert the other day and they were truly delectable – light and airy as they should be, with a fabulous hit of sweet fruits to cut through the richness of the chocolate coated raisins. Mini Yorkshire puddings they may be by any other name, they are easy to make and the four that we didn’t eat were popped into the freezer for future popover pleasure! For those of you who like me may be interested in more historical facts about the humble American popover, I have copied some facts below………that’s it for today however, I am about to pop off to prepare and cook Sunday lunch, and I will see you very soon with some more baking recipes, as well as some new 5:2 diet recipes. Karen
Disclaimer: You might have notices the beautiful vintage cutlery in my photos; the lovely little fork, knife and two spoons were sent to me to use in my photos from Jennifer’s Vintage Cutlery, a wonderful small UK business run by Jennifer that specialises in on-line vintage luxury cutlery and tableware. With thanks to Jennifer for sending me these assorted pretty pieces, I will be using them frequently (in my images and food styling) I am sure. Karen
The popover is an American version of Yorkshire pudding and similar batter puddings made in England since the 17th century, though it has evolved considerably.
The oldest known reference to popovers is in a letter of E. E. Stuart’s in 1850. The first cookbook to print a recipe for popovers was M. N. Henderson, Practical Cooking, 1876. The first book other than a cookbook to mention popovers was Jesuit’s Ring by A. A. Hayes published in 1892.
In American Food (1974), author Evan Jones writes: “Settlers from Maine who founded Portland, Oregon Americanized the pudding from Yorkshire by cooking the batter in custard cups lubricated with drippings from the roasting beef (or sometimes pork); another modification was the use of garlic, and, frequently, herbs. The result is called Portland popover pudding: individual balloons of crusty meat-flavoured pastry.”
Other American popover variations include replacing some of the flour with pumpkin purée and adding spices such as allspice or nutmeg. Most American popovers today, however, are not flavoured with meat or herbs. Instead, they have a buttery taste.