The Yorkshire Pudding.
I am posting this as a blog post but it will also become a page to go with the other recipes here.
Please remember I am not a native of Yorkshire. It has been several generations since a Yorkshire bred person was a member of my family, but even so Yorkshire Pudding has been cooked by my mother, both my grandmothers, all my aunts, and me.
I’ve tried to find the earliest historic reference to Yorkshire Pudding I can and discovered it was first mentioned in print by name by Hannah Glasse in 1747, in “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple”.
I am certain Yorkshire Pudding had been enjoyed by people for a long time before the mid 18th century. So what is this dish?
First off don’t be confused by the word pudding. Primarily this is a savory dish, although some will disagree with me and share wonderful memories of Yorkshire Pudding filled with jam, treacle, or golden syrup. A sign of the versatility of this dish. You can eat it sweet or savory, and hot or cold.
I prefer my Yorkshire Pudding hot, cooked in beef dripping as I believe it is meant to be and doused in lashings of gravy.
If you eat in a modern restaurant in England and are served Yorkshire Pudding it will usually as an accompaniment to a roast meat meal. Yorkshires are offered with lamb, chicken, turkey or baked ham. Although this is nice it is actually not traditional. Yorkshire Pudding in the past was cooked in beef fat and juices as part of a roast beef meal.
Some say the traditional way to serve Yorkshire Pudding is before the meat course. A chunk of Yorkshire Pudding with a ladle of gravy was the appetizer before the main meal. A Yorkshire saying is, “Them that eat the most pudding get the most meat.”
You might find the idea a little odd but it dates back to a time when meat cost a great deal and many families couldn’t afford much of it. By cooking the Yorkshire in a roasting tin placed beneath your beef joint all the dripping and juices ran onto the Yorkshire so nothing was wasted. Although we tend to find the idea of ‘fat’as something to be avoided, in the past when people’s diets were so limited and every day activities and jobs were much more strenuous than many of ours they needed the calories the fat provided.
The luscious Yorkshire Pudding helped eke out the small portions of meat poorer people could afford.
The way I serve Yorkshire Pudding is the way my family always has, as a side dish to accompany roast beef. The two, along with roast potatoes, a few vegetables, lots of beef gravy and a dollop of horseradish sauce, are a fabulous meal.
So what should it look like? See the image above. This shows Yorkshire Pudding made as individuals, one or two is sufficient for most people, my youngest son always wanted one more. By cooking them individually you can also, if you wish, indulge in a sweet Yorkshire by adding jam or you any other favorite treat to the cooked Puddings. I’ve not tried them with chocolate sauce but it’s a possibility.
How do you make a good Yorkshire Pudding? This is where the tricky bit comes. It’s a simple recipe as are many from generations past.
A lot depends on the beat and heat, in my opinion.
2 heaped serving spoons of flour
2 eggs at room temperature
2 tbsp beef dripping
I was taught if you want a good Yorkshire Pudding you make the batter early so the mix can stand and mature. I usually do it with my morning coffee and then place it in the fridge for at least two or three hours before I want to cook it. Don’t make it the night before though as that won’t work.
The proportions for this are something I know by eye alone. I never measure so that makes it a bit difficult to explain to you. I use a medium sized cooking bowl and tip in enough flour to make a little mountain at the bottom of the dish. I add the pinch of salt and make a well in the middle of the flour. I crack in two eggs and give the thing a bit of a stir round to begin to blend the egg and flour. I add about half a pint of milk and stir until the mix is combined and then I beat it hard until I can see bubbles on the top of the mix. Once I’ve got the consistency of pouring cream and those bubbles on the top the mix, I know it is ready to be set aside until I want to cook it.
When my beef joint is cooking I baste it with meat juices and I usually take two or three spoons of this and add them to a separate roasting tin that I am going to use for my Yorkshire Puddings. A square or rectangular one, or one with the individual rounds, any of them will do. The fat should cover all of the base of the tin.
For a good Yorkshire Pudding the oven must be hot, preheated to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
Set the pan with the meat juices near the top of your oven and let the fat heat up until it’s hot.
Beat your Yorkshire mix again for a couple of minutes. Take your sizzling hot pan out and tip your Yorkshire batter in. Get it in the oven straight away, again near the top and in about 30-40 minutes you will have fabulous, crispy, golden, Yorkshire Pudding. It should rise well. If it doesn’t your oven isn’t hot enough.
Serve Yorkshire Pudding straight away with your roast beef meal, or be traditional and serve it first with the beef gravy, or be equally traditional and serve it sweet, or go wild and serve it as a container for roast mushrooms and garlic. If you want to try it cold you will find it will deflate a bit.
I hope if you haven’t ever cooked a Yorkshire Pudding this might give you the idea to try it. If you do, let me know how you served it and how it worked out.
Thanks for reading.
By stef yau from Seattle, USA (Yorkshire Pudding) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons