Popovers are known for being fickle—sometimes they just don’t “pop” and my first batch of pumpkin popovers disappointingly did not. For that batch, I used ½ cup of pumpkin, which likely made the batter too heavy. Determined to try to figure out the secret to popovers, I did some online research and found that without yeast or chemical leaveners, popovers rise purely by steam. It’s what makes them “pop.” For this reason, you want to ideally make the batter with a lower-protein flour and use it right away without letting it rest—letting it rest allows the gluten to develop and traps air bubbles, which is the opposite of what you want in a popover. In addition, using room temperature ingredients is important. The less cold the ingredients, the faster the oven can start converting the liquid in the batter to steam for “popping” the popovers.
This recipe worked pretty well in getting “popped” popovers, but the rise was still not as dramatic as the plain popovers. The pumpkin flavor was subtle and delicate, and the steamy interiors were moist and "eggy." These popovers serve well with butter, Nutella, or apple butter.
Adapted from: Pumpkin Popovers, EatingWell, November/December 1992
¼ cup canned pumpkin puree
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When hot, place popover (or muffin) pans in oven for 2 minutes to preheat.
Whisk together pumpkin puree, eggs, egg whites, milk, and oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Combine flour, salt, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Remove warmed pans from oven, grease with cooking spray and divide the batter among the prepared cups. Bake the popovers until they are puffed and browned, about 30 minutes and serve warm.