Just when I thought I had popped my last popover for a while, along came Roberta’s popovers at Irma’s Finland House.
On Saturday my biking partners and I rode the steep hills and curves of the Mesabi Trail in Northeastern Minnesota. We parked the car in Buhl and pedaled about 16 miles to Virginia. That’s where we left the trail and wound our way through the streets of Virginia to get to Irma’s Finland House. I guess you could say Irma’s is a gift shop and kitchen store rolled into one. The simplicity and beauty of the Finnish iitalla dinnerware displayed on their shelves always sends me into the "I want that" mode. And once I enter the room loaded with gadgets, bakeware and tools that every person who loves to be in the kitchen dreams of, I become a kid in a candy store. I want everything. It was my bike that saved me this time, though. Next time I’ll take the car so I have a trunk to fill up with purchases.
The other thing you need to know about Irma’s is that each time I’ve visited the store, there are foods to sample in the "kitchen room." On Saturday there were delicious preserves that are available in the store to buy. And to hold the preserves? Irma’s Finland House employee, Roberta Felegy, had baked popovers from scratch. Chunks of the fresh popovers were arranged on a plate. They were an hour out of the oven and still tasted wonderful.
I met Roberta three or four years ago. We both love to cook, we both love to eat and we both teach cooking classes. I immediately bonded with Roberta.
Those of you who read my newspaper column know that I recently wrote about my experience making popovers. It seems I’ve had many more flops than pops. I asked Roberta to share her popover secrets. After all, these popovers still looked beautiful and tasted delicious and had been out of the oven for an hour. How can this be? And not only that, these popovers had some whole wheat flour in them. I would never consider adding heavy whole wheat flour to my popovers. For sure they would flop. Roberta said she’s never had a popover flop.
I expected Roberta to reveal a very unexpected tip. Maybe mix the batter a week before baking. Maybe use only organic milk and eggs. Or maybe she used a cast-iron popover pan.
Well, all I can do is share the recipe she gave me. She has no secrets. But maybe her best tip is one she didn’t mention but one that I gleaned from her as I listened to her talk about her freshly-baked popovers — just relax. Mix the batter and bake the popovers.
I plan to try the recipe this week. Let me know how they turn out when you try this popover recipe.
I’m expecting one more big pop in my kitchen this week. Then, my body needs to lay off the popovers for a while.
Roberta’s Popovers That Always Pop
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, or 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup milk (Roberta says it doesn’t matter what kind of milk you use. The ones I tasted that day were made with 1% milk)
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter
Start preheating oven to 425 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. When the oven is preheated, turn it down to 400 degrees. Coat popover pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the empty pan in the oven to preheat. (I will probably preheat the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.) Remove the pan from the oven and add batter to each one. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Leaving the popovers in the oven, turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and bake 20 minutes more. Use a paring knife to poke a hole in the side of each popover. Turn the oven off but leave the popovers in the pan in the oven for 5 more minutes.
Note: If you’re ever in Virginia, Minnesota, stop in at Irma’s Finland House located at 625 9th Street North. The phone number is 218-741-0204. Be sure to say hi to Roberta.