Gluten Free Ratio Rally – Popovers

by Jenn on February 1, 2012

in Desserts,Flops,GF Ratio Rally,Gluten Free

Chocolate Popovers

These were supposed to be gluten free chocolate popovers.  Popovers are like muffins but rise more and have more air inside, hence they “pop over” the tin they are baked in.  As you can see, I didn’t quite get all the kinks worked out by the deadline for this month’s ratio rally :)

This month, Mrs. R from Honey from Flinty Rocks challenged us all to make popovers – and as Erin mentioned on twitter last week, this challenge is not for the faint of heart!  Whereas muffins are downright easy to make gluten free because they are dense and cakey, popovers depend on trapping air so that they can rise a LOT and be fluffy, which can be a bit difficult without that gluten in there to help keep the air locked in.

Ruhlman’s ratio for popovers is 2 : 1 : 1 / liquid : egg: flour.  I attempted to model mine after David Lebovtiz’s sugar crusted popovers, which follows a similar ratio (though slightly less liquid), though I created a gluten free mix where the flour consisted of 1/3 starch (tapioca and potato) and 2/3 flours (white rice, buckwheat, corn, cocoa).  As mentioned in the discussion this month by a few participants, some added fat goes a long way to helping out the popovers – David’s recipe already included melted butter and I even added in some melted chocolate, so I don’t think missing the fat was my problem.

One thing I noticed right away when I took these out of the oven was that despite the fact that I had greased my muffin tin with rather liberal amounts of butter that would have made Paula Dean proud, the “popovers” stuck to the sides incredibly – in fact I struggled to pry them out with a knife without completely ripping them apart in the process.  And then, once I successfully had released them from their baking pan prison, when I took a bite they were dry and tasteless, in the way that often gives GF baked goods a bad rep in the flavor department – a shock, because how could anything with cocoa and melted chocolate be tasteless??? Not only that but their consistency was dense and cakey, like muffins. Not popovers.

If nothing else, taking David’s advice to roll them in melted butter and sugar was an excellent idea. And while they weren’t awesome popovers, the butter/sugar covered up a multitude of sins and made them taste downright delicious (as butter and sugar tend to do :) ).

So what went wrong? Maybe the chocolate was too heavy? I did take a gamble with the chocolate, but I’ve used melted chocolate in soufflés before with great results, and I figured if a light and airy soufflé could handle it, so could popovers.  I am wondering if I should have gone more like a souffle route, and really increased the egg content to help lighten up the texture a bit.  Maybe separated the eggs and beat the whites separately to add in some fluff? Or maybe the issue is similar to my pâte à choux trials, where I needed more protein in the flour mix to help stabilize things. I think I really need to buy some sorghum, millet, and brown rice flours, as well as some very finely ground almond flour and try again before giving up completely on popovers.


Be sure to check out all the other links from this month’s participants – many were much more successful than I!

Brooke | B & the boy! | Chocolate & Sweet Potato Popovers
Charissa | Zest Bakery | Lemon Vanilla Popovers with Minnesota Raspberries
Claire | My Gluten free home | Chai Popovers
Erin | Sensitive Epicure | Popovers
Ginger Bardenhagen | chive and black pepper; toasted onion and aleppo pepper
gretchen  |  kumquat | strawberry cream cheese popovers
Heather | Discovering the Extraordinary | Basic Popovers
Jenn | Jenn Cuisine | Chocolate Popovers
Jonathan  |  The Canary Files | Cinnamon & Star Anise Popovers
Mary Fran | FrannyCakes | Gluten-Free Honey Coconut Popovers 
Morri  |  Meals With Morri | Little Bitty Popover Bites
Mrs. R | Honey from Flinty Rocks | GF DF Popovers
Rachel | The Crispy Cook | Corny Popovers
TR | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies | Sweet Cherry Popovers