Popover Pans

Published September 1, 2014. From Cook's Illustrated.

Overview:

Unlike muffin tins, popover pans have an open design—typically six cups attached by metal wires—which allows heat to surround the batter. This is key to producing tall, airy rolls with a full cap that “pops” up high above each cup. Several years ago, we tested (and liked) the only popover pan widely available. Recently, we found three new pans (all nonstick). How did they stack up against our old favorite?

We compared how each model handled in and out of the oven, how well it released the baked goods, and, most important, how attractive the final results were. Cup shape and color proved essential. Tall cups with a gentle flare supported the batter as it expanded so that the tops of the rolls ballooned up properly. Two pans had optimally shaped cups, but our former favorite had a slight edge because of its darker finish, which conducted heat more efficiently, ensuring that batter cooked quickly to deliver the tallest, airiest popovers. Our former favorite still turns out the most consistently impressive rolls.

Unlike muffin tins, popover pans have an open design—typically six cups attached by metal wires—which allows heat to surround the batter. This is key to producing tall, airy rolls with a full cap that “pops” up high above each cup. Several years ago, we tested (and liked) the only popover pan widely available. Recently, we found three new pans (all nonstick). How did they stack up against our old favorite?

We compared how each model handled in and out of the oven, how well it released the baked goods, and, most important, how attractive the final results were. Cup shape and color proved essential. Tall cups with a gentle flare supported the batter as it expanded so that the tops of the rolls ballooned up properly. Two pans had optimally shaped cups, but our former favorite had a slight edge because of its darker finish, which conducted heat more efficiently, ensuring that batter cooked quickly to deliver the tallest, airiest popovers. Our former favorite still turns out the most consistently impressive rolls.

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