caprese mini popovers with cherry tomatoes and basil

In his 2010 TED talk, Jamie had one wish – to teach every child about food. In our kitchen we carry out that wish daily, ingredient by ingredient, recipe by recipe. Like Jamie, it’s a subject I’m passionate about; I believe that cooking with kids helps them to embrace whole, unprocessed foods and develops a healthy food culture.

Eggs are an ideal ingredient to get kids started cooking. They’re are fun to crack and beat, cook quickly, and are incredibly versatile. On our Canadian homestead, my boys fetch them fresh from the hens every morning in spring and summer. Whether the eggs star in an Apple, bacon and Cheddar frittata or the snacking popovers below, they are always well received by children of all ages.

Popovers are much like the beloved British Yorkshire pudding – gorgeous crispy batter that can go with pretty much anything – even as a sweet, as Meredith shows with her strawberry and goat’s cheese popovers.

The Caprese Salad was the inspiration for my gluten-free version, with a beloved trio of ingredients – tomato, soft cheese and fresh basil – uniting in a single bite. The bocconcini melts into a gooey center, while the edges puff and crisp much like a classic popover. These appetisers would be lovely served at a spring brunch or lunch – if the children don’t eat them all first.

This recipe has a short ingredient list and simple steps, so get your children into the kitchen and cooking alongside you. Buttering the muffin tin and adding the cheese and cherry tomatoes are excellent jobs for little helpers.

The cheese makes this recipe a bit indulgent but they’re great for a treat for kids.

Gluten-free Caprese mini popovers recipe

gluten-free popovers

Yields: 24

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup/60ml milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup whole cream
  • a tiny pinch of sea salt
  • 12 mini bocconcini balls, cut in half (or small shreds of mozzarella)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7. Lightly butter a non-stick 24-cup mini muffin pan.

Put the cornstarch in a medium bowl. Whisking steadily, slowly pour in the milk, mixing until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, mixing again until smooth, then gradually beat in the cream and salt.

Place half of a bocconcini cheese ball in the bottom of each mini muffin cup. Roughly tear a dozen or so leaves of basil and drop them in as well. Using a measuring cup or small pitcher, pour the egg and cream batter over the cheese, only filling the cups about two-thirds full.

Place a half of a cherry tomato in the center of each muffin cup. Place the tin in the middle of the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the popovers puff and start to turn golden.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then carefully run a paring knife around the rim of each muffin cup. Loosen the bottom, too, as the cheese likes to stick somewhat! Carefully lift each popover out of its cup.

Garnish with fresh basil and serve warm if you can, preferably with side of pesto or tomato jam for a truly delicious bite.

About the author

Aimée Wimbush-Bourque

Aimée Wimbush-Bourque is a former chef, food writer and Montreal urban homesteader. She writes the award-winning food blog Simple Bites, named “Best Kids’ Cooking Blog” by Saveur Magazine, where she chronicles her kitchen adventures with simple recipes, savvy cooking tips, vibrant photography and lively stories. She is also the author of the new cookbook "Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family recipes from the kitchen of Simple Bites" (Penguin, 2015). Aimée is wife to Danny, mama to Noah, Mateo & Clara, boss of two cats, and farmer of six brown hens. For more whole foods inspiration and everyday delicious chit-chat, follow Aimée on Twitter and Instagram.

Aimée Wimbush-Bourque