Popovers served with no middle (to help you watch yours)

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.

Mini cocktail popovers are an elegant and satisfying choice for a healthy party food.

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 satisfyingly eggy and have the irresistible carbs of a baked good, they’re hollow in the centre 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 to add that unmistakable flavour, half of the standard amount is replaced with healthier 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 flavour 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)

Batter

250 ml (1 cup) skim milk

2 large eggs

1 large egg white

15 ml (1 tbsp) butter, melted

15 ml (1 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil

250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

Olive Cocktail

Popovers

24 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

Herbed Cheese Cocktail Popovers

75 ml (1/3 cup) light spreadable garlic and herb cheese

Herbed Pepper Popovers

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped peppadew or jalapeno peppers (jalapenos will be hotter)

30 ml (2 tbsp) finely chopped scallions

Heat oven to 220 C (425 F). Set 2 mini muffin tins on a baking sheet. Coat tins with cooking spray, then place them (on the baking sheet) into the oven to heat.

Meanwhile, 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 muffin tins from the oven and place 1 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 muffin tins from 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 popovers from 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 5 ml (1 tsp) of the cheese into each popover. Serve immediately.

To make herbed pepper popovers, mix peppers and scallions into batter. Remove muffin tins from 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 popovers from pans and set on a rack to cool.

Makes 30 servings.

Nutrition information per olive popover (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 39 calories; 18 calories from fat (46 per cent of total calories); 2 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 16 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 0 g fibre; 91 mg sodium.

Nutrition information per herbed cheese popover (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 37 calories; 14 calories from fat (38 per cent of total calories); 2 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 17 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 0 g fibre; 89 mg sodium.

Nutrition information per herbed pepper popover (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 31 calories; 11 calories from fat (35 per cent of total calories); 1 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 16 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 0 g fibre; 43 mg sodium.