Sunday Brunch. Cinnamon Sugared Pop Overs With Apple Compote.

I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. The last thing I wanted to do on a cold, dreary, drizzly winter’s day was leave the cosy confines of our home to make a regular Sunday morning pilgrimage to the bakery.  My easy compromise was to make these.  Cinnamon Sugared Pop Overs, something that has intrigued me and  I have wanted to try for quite a long time now.

These delicate little puffs of air are created from nothing more than a few staple pantry ingredients; milk, butter, sugar, flour and eggs. Mixed together as you would a pancake batter. Poured into heated, greased muffin tins as you would a Yorkshire pudding. Baked in a very hot oven until puffed and golden. Finished with a quick dip in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. The end result was a cross between a doughnut and a choux pastry bun, but infinitely quicker and easier to make.  The crisp shell encasing a soft fluffy crumb with a completely hollow centre. Utterly delicious and addictive. Perfect for splitting open and dolloping with a sweet fruit compote or smearing with marmalade and jam.

Needless to say these sweet toothed morsels  received an overwhelmingly positive reception,voted as good as the artisan pastries we so often indulge in and easily ousting my family’s previous Sunday brunch favourites Zeppole With Rhubarb Compote or Jam Doughnut Muffins from their hallowed perch. They honestly were that good. In truth my waistline probably won’t be thanking me as we edge closer to Spring. I wish I had a little more self control but I’ll worry about that later.

Cinnamon Sugared Pop Overs With Apple Compote
Makes 10

Pop Overs are traditionally baked in deep steep sided specialty pop over pans, but worked beautifully in my regular muffin tin. This recipe combines the principles I use for baking Yorkshire Puddings (something with which I am familiar) with what is essentially a sweet pancake batter. It worked first time and I was incredibly impressed with the height and airiness of my pop overs. 

3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed until just tepid (blood temperature)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
a little unsalted butter, softened, for greasing the muffin tin

For the Cinnamon Sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted

PREHEAT oven to 225 C. Place a  nonstick muffin tin in the oven to heat through.
COMBINE eggs and milk in a large bowl. Whisk together with vanilla until very frothy.
SIFT together flour, salt and  sugar. Make a well in the centre of the bowl.
ADD a little of the egg mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir from the centre gradually drawing in the flour from the sides of the bowl.
GRADUALLY add the remaining egg mixture. Beat well until the batter is smooth and the consistency of heavy cream.
STIR in the melted butter.
REMOVE hot muffin tin from oven and generously grease the 10 outer edge cups of the muffin tin. Good circulation gives the popovers a light and airy rise, leaving the centre cups unfilled helps to achieve a better puff.
DIVIDE the batter evenly amongst the prepared muffin cups.
BAKE in very hot pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 170 C.
CONTINUE to bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown and dry to the touch.
REMOVE from oven, wait a few minutes until cool enough to handle, then remove the pop overs to a wire rack. Using a small sharp knife pierce a small hole in the bottom of each popover to allow the steam to escape.
COMBINE the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Lightly brush each puff with melted butter, then roll in sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat completely. Serve with apple compote which has been prepared while the pop overs have been baking.

Apple Compote

4 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons water
long strip of lemon rind
3 tablespoons sugar
juice of 1 lemon

SLICE the apples into even sized chunks and place in a heavy based saucepan with the long strip of lemon and water.
COVER the saucepan and cook the apples over over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally,  until the apple slices are just beginning to soften.
STIR in sugar and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for a further 5 or so minutes until the apple breaks down but still has some texture. Taste the mixture, adding more sugar if required.
REMOVE from heat. Discard the strip of lemon rind. Allow to cool a little before serving.

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