Eggs make magic — they also make Cheesy Multigrain Popovers

Eggs make magic. If you’ve whipped egg whites into stiff, glossy peaks, you know this. If you’ve ever put a souffle in the oven, and then pulled it out, puffed and golden and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, you know this. If you’ve ever made a Dutch baby, or a German pancake, you know. And this is why I am obsessed with popovers. With some flour, milk, butter, and most importantly, eggs, a popover recipe gives you a bread to go with dinner (or breakfast or brunch), with minimal planning, impressive results, and so little effort is feels like cheating. Plus, they are so cheerful! But the most addictive part is the way they, well, pop out and over, thanks to the egg action.

dutch baby photo

The addiction factor was a strong player in my weekend cooking. I made popovers twice this weekend to go with soup for dinner (French lentil and a roasted parsnip/cauliflower). My first round was using the recipe from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. Have you purchased this cookbook yet? It is inspiring. Also, the recipes yield delicious results. If you’re anything like me, when you get your hands on this book, you’ll pretend to yourself that you are reasonable person and look for recipes that use flours you already have (like rye, so you’ll make the infamous Rye Crumble Bars a couple of times), then you’ll focus on recipes that use a new one you acquire just for that purpose (maybe barley) and then you’ll just give in as your fridge becomes taken over by a whole litany of alternative flours. And this point, you can make the multigrain mix that Kim Boyce calls for in her recipe for multigrain popovers! Luckily, you can use this mix to make her recipe for multigrain waffles (they are good) and a number of other treats that I haven’t tried yet…but it is only a matter of time.

Anyway, those popovers were good. They were especially good ripped open and liberally sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper. However, even as I was enjoying them, my mind couldn’t help wandering to the block of sharp cheddar cheese in the fridge, and imagining the possibility of a merger and acquisition between the two.

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So, Sunday’s dinner brought more popovers. This time, I opted for a less-rich version of the recipe from the Joy of Cooking, only still with the multigrain mix from Good to the Grain, and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Darn it. Just thinking about how tasty and easy these are…I might just have to go make more right now! You should, too.

Cheesy Multigrain Popovers

adapted from the Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rambauer Becker and Ethan Becker,  and Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce and Amy Scattergood.

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup multigrain mix (see below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon warm melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar or Gruyere

Preheat oven to 450. Butter a popover or muffin tin. Whisk together the flours. Whisk the eggs, milk, and butter to combine in a separate bowl, then pour over the flour mixture and fold together until just blended. Fill the popover tins 1/2 full, divide cheese among them, and cover with remaining batter. Bake for 15 minutes at 450, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake for 20 more minutes, until well browned and crusty. Leave those guys alone in the oven without opening the oven door for the last 5 minutes of baking. Serve immediately. The recipes I looked at say this should make 8 popovers, but I always got 7.

Multigrain Mix, ala Kim Boyce

Whisk together:

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup oat flour

1/2 cup barley flour

1/4 cup millet flour

1/4 cup rye flour

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Coconut Maple Granola

Although I’ve always loved granola (who doesn’t?), I never got into the habit of eating it consistently for a few reasons. First of all, it’s not that nutritious. While it contains some wholesome ingredients, granola contains plenty of fat and sugar (especially in the grocery store brands made by the big food companies). Second of all, the brands that are the more nutritious, least processed options are crazy expensive. I will not pay upwards of $7 for 8 ounces of granola.

Granola and Yogurt

Granola Ingredients

I had heard that making your own granola was ridiculously easy, but held off for several years not wanting to go down that tasty, addictive road. But alas, the granola recipe in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook finally looked too good to resist. This is now a regular in my life. No, it is not a health food. But it could be a lot worse! And luckily, a little goes a long way…although a lot goes a long way, too.

Coconut Maple Granola

slightly adapted from the Big Cluster Maple Granola in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman

The main thing I’ve changed from the original recipe is that I’ve swapped coconut oil for olive oil. I melt the oil in the microwave before adding it. I’ve made it with olive oil, and it’s fine, but the flavor is sweeter and the granola more fragrant with the coconut oil. I also love the flavor of maple syrup, so to emphasize that, I use 2/3 of a cup of the darker grade B syrup. Recently I also added some cardamom along with the cinnamon, and while I couldn’t pick out the flavor per se, I did think that batch was extra delicious.

Although dried cherries are kind of expensive, they are really good in this. I used raisins one time when I was out of cherries, but they were too one-dimensional and sweet to add much to the granola. If you don’t want to spend the money on unsweetened dried cherries, just omit them and add berries to your yogurt and granola. Also, the original recipe calls for toasted wheat germ. My bag doesn’t say that it is toasted, and it definitely gets toasted in the oven, so I think whatever you have will be fine!

The other thing I’d add is that to get the big cluster effect don’t spread out the granola too much on your baking sheet. It needs to be touching in a thin layer. Sometimes it ends up in clusters, sometimes not. In the end, I don’t really care if the granola is in big clusters or not — sprinkled over yogurt, I don’t notice a difference.

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup wheat germ

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 cup to 2/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

scant 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional)

1 large egg white

1 1/2 cups dried cherries or another dried fruit, diced if large pieces (optional)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients but the egg white and dried fruit in a large bowl, tossing to coat evenly. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Stir into the granola mixture, distributing it throughout. Spread it in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet (don’t use foil — it will stick!). Bake for 45 – 55 minutes. About halfway through the baking time, use a large spatula to turn over sections of the granola carefully, breaking them up as little as possible. Rotate the pan if granola is baking unevenly. When it is evenly browned and feels dry t the touch, transfer the pan from the oven to a cooling rack. Cool completely. Once it’s completely cool, break up granola into whatever size clusters delight you. Sprinkle in dried fruit.

yield: about 7 cups