Thursday, December 10, 2009
Trader Joe's Popovers
I am not a huge popover fan, but every now and then the urge mysteriously strikes. And while my mother is probably going to kill me for saying this, the best popovers I've ever eaten have been at the Women's City Club of Pasadena. Seriously, they have absolutely perfected the popover. They are gloriously puffy, yet crusty, slightly buttery, and not eggy. But sadly, they do not keep a 24/7 supply on hand, and I can't always make the half hour drive (and that's assuming light traffic) to Pasadena when that random popover craving hits. Hello, Trader Joe!
Trader Joe's offers a package of four frozen popovers that can either be baked or microwaved. And because I am so thorough, I tried them cooked both ways.
Microwaved: C'mon, it's instant gratification, who doesn't love it? This is like the online porn version of a popover. All the work and the build-up is taken out, and 15 to 20 seconds later things have grown to their full potential. The popovers are small, but they did rise nicely in the old nuke box. The crust looked surprisingly dark. In terms of texture, it is soft and slightly chewy. Because of the dark appearance you find yourself waiting for a crunch that never happens, which is a disappointment.
The center does completely hollow out the way a good popover should. The dough itself is airy, yet still dense, and is only a touch eggy. (I seriously hate when egg is the only thing you taste.) It is also a little salty. There does seem to be a slight frozen dough taste to it, but it's not bad at all. I'd find it hard to believe that a better microwavable version exists, even with no crunchy crust.
The baked version: If the microwaved version is the online porn take, then this is the old school print magazine version. You have to go to the store, bring the magazine home, turn the pages, and pretend to read the articles. In other words, there is more work...but roughly 5 to 7 minutes later you are on the verge.
The baked versions looks exactly like its microwaved siblings. In terms of color and size, there is no difference. Texture-wise, while the microwaved ones were spongy and soft, the baked version is crunchy and crusty. Also, and more importantly, the slight frozen dough taste in the microwaved version disappears completely. Everything that was already good in the microwaved version is even better when baked. Microwave if you must, but it is really worth it to do the oven bake.
One of Trader Joe's best offerings!