My right hand man has been working long days lately, as in days that stretch into the next day. In addition to just missing his company in the evenings, I dread attacking the day’s dishes in our kitchen sink alone. When he is present, he more than pulls his own weight and he does the dishes while I (usually) move on to my next cooking project. I can think of plenty of jobs I hate more than dishes (cutting up raw chicken, for example), but somehow when I am doing them without him, after putting our kids to bed, cleaning up the kitchen is lonely and seemingly interminable. You would think that on these sort of nights the last thing I would do the following morning would be to cook up a “top-tier” breakfast, right?
Sure. But then in the surprisingly bright early morning I heard a little voice singing in her crib, calling her older brother to wake up. And then I heard his sweet “Good Morning!” response from his top bunk and some sort of fecal joke that the two of them found side-splittingly funny. Like ninety percent of the food I make, I immediately wanted to make something delicious for them, something that would cook while I cuddled their two warm little bodies in my bed over our morning story. Top tier breakfast day.
I have been niggling over this particular popover recipe for a while now and though it is not perfect (I would love it if they popped up as towering tall as plain unbleached flour based popovers, just for the aesthetics prize), it is pretty darn close. Popovers are an ideal breakfast for their simplicity and because they are the building blocks for an amazing creation. Like a sandwich or a quesadilla, one can dress them up with countless jams, melted butter, cinnamon sugar, whipped cream, cheesy-chive scrambled eggs, etc, or eat them perfectly unadorned.
Best of all, these healthy multigrain popovers are a cinch to make. They take time to cook, but they require only one minute to mix the ingredients and, aside from the mixing bowl and spoon, just the muffin tin to clean up afterwards.
The only real mistake you can make with these is fiddling with them too much. Do not overfill the muffin cups, nor open the oven while they are cooking. And as with any popover recipe, do not mix the batter too much–just enough to mix in the flour and then stop. In addition, I have both tried letting the batter rest as in Marion Cunningham’s popover recipe, to relax the gluten, and also just mixed the batter and immediately cooked them up and I have found virtually no difference in the height of the popover.
My favorite way to serve these is sprinkled with powdered sugar and melted butter. If I have a particularly sumptuous jam or curd (grapefruit curd leftover from macaron madness?) I spoon a huge dollop into the middle of the eggy-custardy center of the popover too. And more melted butter. And whipped cream.
Did I say these were healthy?
If you do not load them up like I do, these are wonderfully balanced with calcium, protein, and lots of whole grains from your homemade multigrain flour and the oatmeal. If you do not feel like making the multigrain flour, it is fine to replace it with all-purpose unbleached or a little bit of whole wheat pastry flour.
Finally, contrary to my former opinion that leftover popovers were merely destined for the compost bin, these taste great with a quick toast in the toaster oven. Good enough to save a few for your errant partner in crime if s/he has been working late into the wee hours.
Oatmeal Multi-grain Popovers
(makes about 10 popovers)
4-5 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
3/8 cup multigrain flour* or whole wheat pastry flour (or just more unbleached all-purpose)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1. Pour 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil into each of the muffin cups that you will be using (if you want, space every other cup and use two muffin tins for more even baking). Place into cold oven and let the oiled muffin tin(s) preheat to 450F.
2. If you have a spouted mixing bowl, use it here. Lightly whisk together the milk and eggs and then stir in the melted butter, oats, flour, and salt until just barely incorporated then stop! Do not overmix it. Let the batter sit until your oven and muffin tins have fully preheated (5-10 minutes depending on your oven). Working very quickly, pour the batter into the hot, oiled muffin cups, filling only 2/3-3/4 full and then immediately put back into the oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes and then turn the oven down to 350F, but DO NOT open the oven for 15 minutes more.
3. Serve immediately with powdered sugar and melted butter and your favorite jam or grapefruit curd and whipped cream.
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup oat flour
1 cup barley flour
3/4 cup millet flour
1/4-1/2 cup rye flour (this has the strongest flavor and texture so if you like it err on the side of more)
Whisk all the flours together and use whatever portion you need. You can quarter the recipe if you are only using it for these popovers, but I substitute this into all sorts of things from pancakes to waffles, crumpets, banana bread, etc.