Want to lighten up your holiday hors d'oeuvres? Cut out the middle.
Mini cocktail popovers are an elegant and satisfying choice for a healthy party food. Even though they're eggy and have the irresistible carbs of a baked good, they're hollow in the center, so they pack fewer calories. They also are amazingly simple to prepare.
For these cocktail popover variations, a lighter version of the typical popover batter is used. The recipe starts with skim milk and cuts out some of the egg yolks to trim the fat even further. And while a prudent amount of butter is used, half of the standard amount is replaced with more healthful extra-virgin olive oil.
For the lightest version, you could offer plain popovers or simply add fresh (or dried) herbs such as chives, tarragon or a blend to the batter.
Another way to boost the flavor of the batter is to add a few tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and ground black pepper.
Other delicious yet guilt-free variations could include stuffing the popovers with a blend of whipped light cream cheese and chopped smoked salmon or even a piece of steamed asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.
COCKTAIL POPOVERS THREE WAYS
Start to finish: 40 minutes (10 minutes active)
For the batter:
1 cup skim milk
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
For olive cocktail popovers:
24 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
For herbed cheese cocktail popovers:
1/3 cup light spreadable garlic and herb cheese (such as Boursin or Alouette)
For herbed pepper popovers:
2 tablespoons chopped Peppadew or jalapeno peppers (jalapenos will be hotter)
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
Heat the oven to 425 F. Set two mini muffin tins on a baking sheet. Coat the tins with cooking spray, then place them (on the baking sheet) into the oven.
To make the batter, in a blender or food processor, combine milk, eggs, egg white, melted butter, olive oil, flour and salt. Blend for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the container, then blend for another 30 seconds.
To make olive cocktail popovers, remove the muffin tins from the oven and place an olive in each cup. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter on top of each olive. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until deep golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately.
To make herbed cheese cocktail popovers, remove the muffin tins from the oven and spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each cup. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until deep golden brown and crisp. Remove the popovers from the pans and set on a rack to cool.
To make the herbed pepper popovers, mix the peppers and scallions into the batter. Remove the muffin tins from the oven and spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each cup. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until deep golden brown and crisp. Remove the popovers from the pans and set on a rack to cool.
When ready to serve, poke a hole in the bottom of each popover. Put cheese in a small sturdy plastic bag. Gather the bag and squeeze the cheese into one corner. With scissors, snip off the tip of the bag and squeeze a teaspoon of cheese into each popover. Serve immediately.