I came across a blog with a post about "Sugared Puffs", which came from a recipe by David Lebovitz, and decided it was something I needed to make. What lured me in was that these were unlike "doughnut muffins", being practically a popover with the addition of a spicy sweet coating of cinnamon sugar that lends an extra crunch.
What is a popover? Well, it's a thin, eggy batter with a small amount of flour-to-liquid ratio. Since there's no added leavening agent, what makes these "pop over" the tin is by liquid evaporation in the hot oven, thus it's steam-leavened. Like souffles, these will begin to deflate after you take them out of the oven. You traditionally bake these in a popover tin, the individual cups being more narrow and deeper than that of a muffin tin, but I made these in a muffin tin.
I would describe the taste of a popover as custard-like, which makes sense as eggs are one of the main ingredients, and since these are, of course, made with milk that's pretty much close to a custard. Biting through the crispy skin to the silky, moist innards is really a delight.
After baking and cooling a bit (outside of the tin), I brushed the tops with melted butter and coated the tops with cinnamon sugar, which really happened to be an apple pie spice mixed with sugar. I like my cinnamon sugar to be on the spicy side, so I always add more cinnamon (or apple/pumpkin pie spice) than the ratio states. (Nobody will mock me for playing by the rules.)
Please gaze upon the delicious innards
These were definitely good as soon as coated with the sugar, but it also tasted just as good the next day, albeit slightly less crunchy. My brother said these reminded him of elephant ears.
Sugared puffs would make a perfect lazy weekend breakfast along with a bowl of fruit and a steaming cup of coffee, or a nice teatime snackable. If you have any leftover, eat the next day for elevenses.
(Recipe after the jump)
Recipe by David Lebovitz, appeared in The New York Times
For the puffs:
Softened unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup flour
For the sugar coating:
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I'm pretty sure I added a tablespoon, maybe a little more)
4 tablespoons butter, melted.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Liberally grease a nonstick popover pan, or a muffin pan with 1/2-cup indentations, with softened butter.
- For the puffs, put the 2 tablespoons melted butter, eggs, milk, salt and sugar in a blender and whiz for a few seconds.
- Add the flour and whiz for 5 to 8 seconds, just until smooth.
- Divide the batter among 9 greased molds, filling each 1/2 to 2/3 full.
- Bake for 35 minutes, until the puffs are deep brown.
- Remove from the oven, wait a few minutes until cool enough to handle, then remove the puffs from the pans. You may need a small knife to help pry them out.
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Thoroughly brush each puff all over with melted butter, then dredge in sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat completely. Let cool on a baking rack. Makes 9 puffs.