While many of you might be kicking off your shoes and celebrating Labor Day, I’m getting busy in the kitchen and celebrating National Cherry Popover Day. Now don’t get me wrong, I applaud the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations and seriously appreciate the day off for workers, but today I’m all about honoring curious baked goods.
When I began thinking about popovers, I thought it would be the perfect kind of goodie to tweak into a vegan treat. Until I realized that, oh yeah, popovers are essentially eggs and milk with a splash of flour. Not such an easy vegan adaption. So instead I went with a whole wheat version, not vegan, but healthy and wholesome nonetheless. I turned to my trusty pal, white whole wheat flour. This wonder ingredient has the same nutritional and fiber benefits of red whole wheat, but since it doesn’t have the same tannins and phenolic acid found in the outer bran of red wheat, it is less bitter and tastes sweeter. (You can buy white whole wheat flour at some health food stores or gourmet markets (like Whole Foods). You can also order it online from my favorite flour company, King Arthur Flour.)
Popovers can be very easy, but can also tend towards devilish, peevish and fickle if you disobey the main tenet of popover baking: Do not open the door and check on them. It’s hard, but doing so will deflate them in a heartbeat. Other than that, they’re pretty agreeable.
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup pitted cherries
1. Beat the milk, melted butter, flour, and salt in a medium bowl until just smooth, then add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated. Stir in cherries. Allow batter to rest for 15 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 450F. Butter 12 muffin cups (or 6 popover cups) taking care to coat the cups as well as the area around the top as well.
3. Fill cups 3/4 full (leave plenty of room), and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Without opening the oven door, lower the heat to 350F and bake 10 minutes longer. Do not open the oven during baking!
4. Remove from oven, pierce tops with a knife to let the steam escape, and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes.
5. Remove from pan, and serve.