Appetites: Flaky and puffed with air, popovers are a Passover staple

Yum Kitchen and Bakery popovers.
Courtesy Keely Nyquist

At first glance, it may seem that popovers would be unwelcome at the Passover table. Flaky, puffed with air and soft to bite into, these delectable pastries hardly seem unleavened. But the yeast-free delights are actually one of the staples of the Jewish holiday.

“The Passover pita we call it,” said Patti Soskin, co-owner of Yum Kitchen and Bakery. During the week of Passover, Jewish people avoid leavened breads as a way of remembering their ancestors’ escape from Egypt.

But matzo, a cracker-like flatbread, is certainly not the only bread that meets the criteria. At Yum, they make their Passover popovers with matzo meal to create a versatile kosher bread.

“We do them with tuna salad, chicken salad and egg salad,” Soskin said. “Literally, you can make them breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

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Yum Kitchen and Bakery makes its Passover popovers with matzo flour.
Courtesy of Keely Nyquist

Soskin told MPR News Host Tom Crann that during the Passover season, Yum bakes thousands of popovers to meet the demand of customers who preorder them for their celebrations.

The secret to making them puff up just right, she said, is warming a pan in the oven ahead of time and then putting cold batter in just before baking.

“I worked at Dayton’s. I ran their food service for years,” Soskin said. “That’s where I learned to make popovers and to this day at home when it’s not Passover, I always use the Dayton’s popover recipe.”

At Yum bakery, the recipe they use comes from Soskin’s mother.

“It’s near and dear to my heart,” Soskin said.

Listen to the full conversation by clicking the audio player above.