This section is from the book "Experimental Cookery From The Chemical And Physical Standpoint", by Belle Lowe. Also available from Amazon: Experimental cookery.
To determine the best proportion of ingredients for a cover batter.
Prepare 1/4 of the popover recipe using the four different proportions of flour given in Experiment 78 for timbales. Use apple rings or sliced bananas. Dip them into the batter and then cook in deep fat. Which proportion of flour gives a good cover batter?
Proportion of flour used
To determine the factors that influence the texture of cream puffs. Recipe:
Butter 1/2 cup 112 grams
Boiling water 1 cup 240 grams
Eggs 4 192 grams
Flour 1 cup 112 grams
A. Temperature of baking.
Prepare 34 of the recipe. To the boiling water add the butter; then the flour. Stir while adding the flour and cook until the material has a tendency to form a ball and leave the sides of the pan. The paste is done when a metal spoon pressed down lightly leaves a clear, smooth print. Remove from the fire and add the beaten eggs in two portions. Beat thoroughly after adding the first half of the egg and until smooth and even in texture after the last half is added. One-fourth the recipe makes 3 fairly large puffs. Drop on baking sheets and bake at the following temperatures: 190° to 200°C. (375° to 390°F.), 220° to 225°C. (425° to 435°F.), and 240° to 250°C. (465° to 480°F.). Bake until the puffs are quite firm to the touch. If any become too brown lower the temperature of the oven, or if nearly done turn off the gas and let set in the oven until firm to the touch.
The following suggestions for records of the experiments with cream puffs are given.
Temperature of baking
B. Variation in the amount of cooking before the eggs are added.
1. Prepare 1/2 the recipe. Cook the butter, the flour, and the water together until the emulsion begins to break and the mixture looks oily on the surface. Remove from fire. Weigh, and divide into 2 equal parts. To one part add eggs for 1/4 the recipe. Use the other part for B2. Follow directions under A for baking and cooking, or bake all the puffs at the temperature under A that gave the best product.
2. Before removing from the fire add enough boiling water to give a smooth mixture and one that does not look oily. Keep a record of the amount of water added. Remove from the stove and add eggs.
C. Variation in extent of mixing the egg with the cooked paste.
Weigh flour, fat, and water for 3/4 the recipe and cook. After it is cooked weigh and divide into 3 equal parts. Follow directions under A for combining and the temperature of baking found best under A.
1. To part one add beaten egg for 1/4 the recipe and mix only slightly with the paste. This makes 3 puffs. Note behavior of fat in the puffs while baking.
2. To part two add beaten egg for 1/4 the recipe. Add the egg in two portions and beat thoroughly until very smooth and shiny.
3. Repeat C2 but cool the paste before adding the egg.
D. Variations in the proportions of ingredients.
1. Omit the eggs in the recipe.
2. Reduce the number of eggs in the recipe to 3.
3. Reduce the eggs in the recipe to 3 and increase the water to 1 1/4 cups.
4. Reduce the eggs in the recipe to 3 and reduce the fat to 1/4 cup.
5. Reduce the fat in the recipe to 1/4 cup.
Which is the best temperature for baking cream puffs? How much water was added in B2? What is the effect on volume of puffs of only slightly mixing the eggs with the paste ? Can the eggs be omitted ? Does the emulsion hold when the eggs are reduced to 3 or does the fat ooze out of the cream puffs while they are baking in the oven? Is there a tendency for the fat to be retained better when the eggs are reduced to 3 if the water is increased? Is the texture desirable when the water is increased? Does the emulsion hold in baking when both the fat and the egg are reduced? Is a good volume attained with reduced fat and egg? If water, flour, and fat are over-cooked, how may this be remedied? Results.