Popovers are a favored weekend treat to which all the boys look forward; but in light of our younger son's recent gluten, dairy and soy-free diet, it seemed that the weekend tradition had come to an end.
In recalibrating all of Baby's favorite foods, I've been challenged because soy is often used as a dairy substitute. Nowadays, finding gluten-free products is relatively easy; dairy-free substitutes abound; and soy-free is also easy - but finding something gluten, casein AND soy free is a bit more difficult. The culprit in dairy that affects Baby is casein, a protein found in most mammalian milk. Its structure is similar to gluten, which is one reason why gluten-free diets are sometimes also "dairy" free. While the majority of dairy items are off the table for him, I realized one particular, critical element isn't: butter. Or more specifically, ghee.
Ghee is a clarified butter that has been has been melted slowly over low heat until the milk solids separate and settle at the bottom (this is the protein, or casein, that gets discarded), and the water in the butter has evaporated. What's left is a golden liquid that's got an intense, rich flavor and a higher smoking point, so cooking doesn't result in the burnt butter taste. Commercial organic ghee can range up to $15 for a 13-ounce jar; or, you can make your own (I prefer to use Plugra unsalted butter).
With ghee, I've been able to make cookies and cake for Baby; and today, with the help of a good recipe from King Arthur which I modified, was used to excellent effect in making puffy, golden popovers that had all the golden crispy exterior and steamed out airiness that is inherent in a popover. Side by side with the regular popovers they looked just as puffy and airy and more importantly, once coated with melted ghee and cinnamon sugar, there wasn't too significant a difference. These popovers were a little chewier than the gluten packed version, but all the same, Baby can have popovers again with everyone else so I'd say that's an easy tradeoff for the first go round. I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour so I wonder if that's why they came out denser. Enough of what I've read online suggests Bob's Red Mill flours aren't always so great, so I'll go back and try again with either the King Arthur gluten-free flour blend, or make my own. We've got more weekends to fill in with popovers.