Who doesn’t love a warm, fresh from the oven popover? No, not a fruit tart or hand pie, but a popover. These light, airy, Pancetta Parmesan and Black Pepper Popovers are similar to Yorkshire pudding as they are made from an egg batter base. They puff up and up and up to create a wonderful, pull apart and munch appetizer snack.
If you have never had them check this recipe out. Talk about simple and easy. The trick is the special pan that’s needed must have straight sides to allow the batter to rise to lofty heights. I’ve used muffin pans before and it works, they just don’t get as high as I like them to though.
Another favorite and somewhat similar to the popover is the gougère, like my Gruyere Puffs. Gougère, which in French cuisine is a baked savory choux pastry made of choux dough mixed with cheese. It’s a cooked mixture of water, butter and flour which rises due to steam expansion. The paste crusts on the outside, trapping steam inside, creating a puffed shape with a hollow interior. The popover however incorporates eggs that enable these babies to rise up! I like mine to double the size of the baking pan so make sure you place these on a lower rack in the oven, too. I want massive popovers, OK?
As Ina Garten says, “There are three secrets to great popovers. Make sure the pan is hot before you pour in the batter, fill each section not more than half full and no peeking while they’re in the oven!” I agree on two counts, but pour mine about three quarters of the way and load them up with toppings and sweet or savory nibbles like pancetta in this one.
I don’t know why these aren’t found more in restaurants as a appetizer of in place of bread, but they need to be highlighted more and need proper exposure. They are just so delicious. I like to add a lot of black pepper to the batter as well as freshly grated parmesan cheese. My choice of the the rendered, crispy pancetta can easily be switched up by substituting cooked, crumbled bacon.
Let’s get baking!
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. and move rack to the bottom third.
In a 4 cup measuring bowl microwave the milk at 30 second intervals until it is 125°, but not boiling. About a minute or so. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the black pepper until smooth. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, whisking constantly as you don’t want scrambled eggs. Add the flour and whisk until the batter is combined.
Add the popover pan or muffin pan to the oven for 2-3 minutes to get smoking hot. Remove the pan from the oven and spray the pans generously with cooking spray. Fill batter three quarters of the way in each mold/cup. Divide the cooked pancetta evenly and top each of the batter filled cups, then the same with the parmesan cheese. Reserve some cheese to sprinkle on top after baking.
Bake the popovers until puffed and deep golden brown, about 40 minutes. DO NOT open the door and peak or they will collapse. Trust me – been there, done that. Lesson learned, patience is needed with baking!
Remove the popovers from the pans, sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese and chopped chives as garnish and enjoy warm.
These were the perfect first course the other night when we had company over for a dinner of my Slow Simmered Pork Molé Negro. Just something more conversational and fun to start off the evening. They were a hit.
For dessert we had some Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Apple Empanadas that made for a sweet ending to a spicy dinner.
Look at these beauties, dig in!
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Pancetta Parmesan and Black Pepper Popovers
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup cooked pancetta or bacon
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F and move rack to the bottom third.
- In a 4 cup measuring bowl microwave the milk at 30 second intervals until it is 125°F, but not boiling. About a minute or so. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the black pepper until smooth. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, whisking constantly as you don’t want scrambled eggs. Add the flour and whisk until the batter is combined.
- Add the popover pan or muffin pan to the 375°F oven for 2-3 minutes to get smoking hot. THIS IS CRITICAL!
- Remove the pan from the oven and spray the pans generously with cooking spray. Fill batter three quarters of the way in each mold/cup. Divide the cooked pancetta evenly and top each of the batter filled cups, then the same with the parmesan cheese. Reserve some cheese to sprinkle on top after baking.
- Bake the popovers until puffed and deep golden brown, about 40 minutes. DO NOT open the door and peak or they will collapse.
- Remove the popovers from the pans, sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese and chopped chives as garnish and enjoy warm.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
I just ordered some popover pans after seeing these!
Just wanted to ask – can I spray them before heating and how many popovers does this recipe make?
You’re going to love making these. They grow so big! I don’t spray the pans first because the oil would burn and leave a bad taste. Remember, no peeking until they’re done!
Hey Kevin! These look fantastic! I always make herbed popovers when I do a prime rib. We like to make sandwiches with the leftover popovers and beef, with a nice grainy mustard and horseradish! Au jus on the side is nice too!
These popovers are a house favorite and the trick is to get the pan super hot first and no peeking until they’re done. The rise and rise!
Great post, and I just love the popovers. Now I’m going back quite a few years (‘many years’) but I remember a restaurant that my parents took us to for special occasions and they always served popovers in place of rolls. Now that you so graciously gave us terrific tips and hints, they are worth making ‘just because’. Can’t wait to give them a try.
Thanks Joanne, I make these often and you can always change the cheese, but they are amazing. The height you get is fantastic, just don’t start with a cold pan or peek and open the oven until the timer is done!
How had it never occurred to me to make savory popovers? These look incredible – perfect to eat alongside the soups I have on my mind. Great recipe!
Thanks for the kind words and stopping by here Marissa. Will definitely check out your carnitas recipe, one of my favorite go to Mexican dishes for sure. Have a great day.