September 1st is National Cherry Popover Day, a day to enjoy these delicious hollow sweets. Popovers are made by baking a thin egg batter that rises to a hollow shell. The result is similar to a light muffin — in fact, the popover get’s its name from the fact that the batter pops over the top of a muffin tin as it bakes. Popovers are America’s take on England’s centuries-old Yorkshire pudding, and have been written about as far back as the 1850′s. While cherry popovers are a decidedly sweet dessert, popovers can also be made in savory fashion, using meats and herbs. Some other variations even include the addition of spices and pumpkin puree.
I’m not sure how, but in spite of my love of baking, I somehow made it into my thirties without ever having heard of a popover. My pastry/bakery knowledge is pretty much limited to pies, basic muffins, bear claws, donuts, and the like. To me, if something is being baked in a muffin tin, that’s because it is a muffin (or one of the delicious little hamburger/bacon/macaroni/hash brown/cheese mini-pies I improvise on occasion). But I’m always happy to bake something new, especially something sweet, so I was excited to welcome September with this tasty “unofficial”.
Unfortunately, this evening was a hectic one. Chris ended up staying in D.C. late while I spent a couple of hours in search of our hound dog, Iris, who pulled her leash from my hands before running off into the woods. Luckily, Iris turned up before too long (though, oddly, she was missing her leash and collar, along with all of her ID tags and licenses), and after a brief reunion I began making our cherry popover dessert.
Armed with a simple recipe consisting of only a few ingredients, the preparation was quick and easy. However, there were a couple of flubs along the way. First, Chris and I found ourselves with only cherry pie filling in the pantry, instead of the fresh, pitted cherries the recipe called for. We decided to improvise, and “go with it”. Secondly, whoever posted the recipe is having a good laugh: it called for a 30 minute overall bake time, but it took less than 20 minute for the outer layer of our popovers to burn and set off the fire alarm. Plus, our popovers didn’t so much “pop over” — they more or less just rose a little. But it doesn’t matter — I’m enjoying a delicious popover now, along with a little vanilla ice cream. And I’m not sure if it’s because I forgot to eat dinner during this evening’s drama, or if it’s due to my superb baking skills, but it tastes really,really good.
If there aren’t any popovers leftover for my coworkers tomorrow, then perhaps I will “let them eat cake!,” in the tradition of Marie Antoinette. After all, tomorrow is National Beheading Day!