Sunday, December 2, 2012

Perfect Gruyere + Black Pepper Popovers with Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Gruyere + Black Pepper Popovers with Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese 
ROLL TIDE ROLL, Y'ALL!! I know many of you might not be rabid college football fans like us, so I get y'all up to speed. Last night, my two favorite teams, the Alabama Crimson Tide & the UGA Bulldogs played in the SEC Championship, and man, what a game!! My boys from Alabama barely pulled it out, but all the matters is that we won. So now, we're headed to the National Championship to South Beach in Miami. Okay, back to the food, since I got a little distracted. Popovers are mah jam. They are one of my favorite dinner breads to serve to guests, friends, or family. I mean, you can make some many different flavor combinations and they always come out looking FABULOUS. Some other flavors I want to try are herbed, cheddar + bacon jam, goat cheese or brie with fig preserve swirls, cherry tomato confit + basil, and a variety of dessert popovers. Speaking of making popovers for dessert, not many people have made recipes that can be enjoyed at the end of a meal (or maybe for breakfast). So, the next recipe I'm going to post will be Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt Popovers with Brown Butter. I'm telling you they were delicious, almost a mix between a chocolate croissant and beignets. Once again, I'm getting off topic. The recipes that I'm introducing to y'all today are my Gruyere + Black Pepper popovers with grated Parmesan. It was a part of my Thanksgiving menu this year, and they were so good that even my one year old niece gobbled one up. Like what baby eats black pepper and gruyere? Not many. What I love about them is their utterly smooth batter that is speckled with freshly cracked pepper. THEN, they are filled with nutty gruyere cheese... perfection I tell ya. When they are done baking up, you get the instant gratification of seeing the gorgeously risen popovers that are perfectly golden brown and crisp on its surface. I included a few tips that are extremely helpful in making the best popovers you could possibly ever taste. So, make sure to use them to your advantage. But, most importantly, eat them right out of the oven with a bunch of grated Parmesan all over the tops of these tasty popovers and enjoy every tasty morsel. We have already made these three times since Thanksgiving because they were such a hit... a new Thanksgiving tradition has been born y'all!! Enjoy :)
golden brown color + freshly grated parmesan
Seriously, they are like two feet tall y'all :)
See that crusty, caramelized cheese on the top... 
For the Popovers:
2C Whole Milk
4 Large Eggs
1 ½t Salt
½-1t Freshly Ground Black Pepper (depending on how spicy or strong you like it)
2C Bread Flour, Sifted (AP Flour can be substituted)
¼t Baking Powder, scant
4oz Gruyere Cheese, Cut into Small Cubes (group the cubes into evenly numbered piles)
12T Unsalted Butter, Cut into Tabs & Brought to Room Temperature (extremely soft)
Freshly Grated Parmesan, For Garnishing

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Place two popover pans in the oven to warm.
2. For the Popover Batter: In a small saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat until it is hot, but not boiling. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs with the salt and black pepper until smooth. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, while making sure to use the tempering technique, so that there are no cooked egg particles in your smooth batter. Sift together the bread flour (or AP Flour) and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add in the sifted flour mixture and whisk until the batter is just combined and smooth (it may still have some lumps, so do not over-mix).
3. Preparing the Popovers: Remove the pans from the oven and drop a tab of the extremely soft butter into each popover mold, and then ladle in a scant ½C of black pepper batter into the melted, sizzling butter. Drop the small cubes of Gruyere into the center of each popover batter; I dropped about 4-5 cubes of Gruyere into mine. This batter makes should make roughly 12 large popovers or 16 smaller popovers.
4. Baking the Popovers: Bake the popovers until puffed and deep golden brown, about 30-45 minutes (do not open the oven besides the one period where you prick the popovers). At the 30-35 minute mark, open the oven door and quickly prick the sides and tops of the popovers with a toothpick. This is a very important step because it helps the popovers to release steam that has been trapped inside them. Once you have pricked them, continue baking these for the remaining 10-15 minutes to finish browning. Remove the popovers from their pans, you have to do this carefully because you do not want to cause the popover to collapse or ruin their perfectly baked structure. I did this by using a dull butter knife to loosen up the edges of the popovers; it can sometimes be difficult to get them out when the cheese has oozed out and begun to caramelized and crisp up.
5. For Serving: grate fresh Parmesan all over the hot popovers and enjoy immediately while they are still warm.

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