Pretty Please, with Sweet Potato on Top?
“Honey, can you make sweet potato popovers tonight?” It seems like an innocent request, but trust me, every time I hear it I groan. Fair warning, if you continue to read this post, you too may be stuck in a similar predicament. I started playing around with a recipe for sweet potato popovers a few years ago, and have gone through several iterations to come up with the balance we like the best. The only problem is, we REALLY like these popovers. They rarely last beyond the evening. Honestly, they rarely last until dinner is served.
Traditional popovers consist of flour, eggs, milk, butter, sugar and salt. They come out as deliciously hot puffs, and must be consumed immediately. Popovers are also called Yorkshire Pudding, but the only difference I can tell between the two is that Yorkshire Pudding is traditionally cooked in beef drippings instead of butter. Either way, it is delicious.
Making them Paleo
There are several really good recipes out there for sweet potato popovers, and all of them are fairly similar in proportions and method. Eggs, flour substitute, milk substitute, fat substitute, sweet potato, and flavoring. Many of the recipes call for almond milk, or coconut oil, both of which are problems in our house. I’ve tried using several types of milk substitute that work for our family. Hemp milk is a good product, if you can find one that isn’t loaded with too many “extras”. I’ve also made my own tigernut milk, and used that. The result were great. Unfortunately, hemp milk and tigernut milk are both expensive, and not staples in my pantry. When my husband requests popovers, part of that groan is “I really don’t want to schlep to whole foods right now and stand in line for 20 minutes just for milk substitute”.
Using What You Have
Desperate to find a way to make this recipe more accessible, I started playing around with different ingredients I had in my pantry all the time. After a few tries, I was able to completely replace the milk with a combination of water and grass-fed butter. If you cannot tolerate the small amount of dairy in this recipe, you can always replace it with the milk substitute of your choice. Given how much butter I cook with on holidays, I try to use hemp milk or tigernut milk for the popovers on those occasions. Though grass-fed butter does have great health benefits, everything in moderation.
In spite of Sur La Table’s amazing marketing campaign, you don’t need to buy any special equipment. All you really need are metal muffin pans (silicone just doesn’t work as well), and a blender. If you want to get fancy, you can always spring for the specialty popover pans, but they are by no means required. Personally, I’ve even used disposable muffin tins to make these babies, and they work just fine.
Depending on the season, or the occasion, I like to change up the type of flavorings I add to the batter. The sweet potatoes pair very well with cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and even maple sugar. If you want to go a more savory route, I like using rosemary or sage. Once you have gotten the hang of the base of this recipe, swapping out the flavoring is really quite easy. Be creative!
- 2/3 cup mashed sweet potato
- 1 cup Otto's Cassava Flour
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4.5 Tbsp salted grass-fed butter (like Kerry Gold)
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp flavor of choice (cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice) or 1 tbsp fresh chopped herb (rosemary, sage...)
- Butter for greasing the tin (1/2 tsp per muffin tin)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put about 1/2 tsp of butter into each muffin well of your muffin pan. Place pan in oven while it preheats.
- In blender, first combine butter and boiling water. Blend well on high until liquid looks milky. Add in the sweet potato, flour, and any flavoring you are using. Blend until smooth. Lastly, blend in the eggs. Don't add the eggs too soon - you don't want the boiling water to cook them. This is why I add them last.
- Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Butter should be melted by now. Carefully fill each muffin well 3/4 of the way with batter. The batter should sizzle as it hits the butter. This is good!
- Cook the muffins for 50 minutes. Popovers are like a soufflé - they do not like to be disturbed until they are done. Don't open the door until the 50 minutes is up.
- After 50 minutes, take a sharp knife, and pierce the top of each popover to release the steam inside. Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and let sit for 2 minutes. Carefully take popovers out of the pan, and serve immediately.
If you do not want to use the butter milk option, use 1 cup of the milk substitute of your choice, and use 1.5 tbsp less butter (so only 3 tbsp butter). It will be easiest if you melt the butter ahead of time in this case, since you won't have the boiling water to melt it for you.