Tuesday, October 13, 2015

National Yorkshire Pudding Day (or...Yet Another Tasty Recipe For Not A Lot Of Dough!)

Image borrowed from CBS's television show Elementary

Sherlock:  I enjoy making Yorkshire Pudding, Watson, not eating it.  It is absolutely revolting.  I can dig you one out if you'd like to try it...
Watson:  I'm good...thanks for asking....after you threw them away....

Yorkshire Pudding...yet another of the foods where I'm familiar with the name but have no idea what it actually is.  When I first heard about this day, I couldn't help but imagine a mound of creamy, yet gelatinous, chocolate heaped into single serve cup and thrown into a lunch box - except this time, maybe waving a Union Jack flag .

You remember mom giving you pudding cups...don't lie

Apparently my imagination was a just a slight bit off.

It turns out Yorkshire pudding is a bread dish.  Batter pudding is baked in a screaming-hot oven until puffed high (think of popovers).  Traditionally they're more for use in savory dishes and served at the beginning of the meal, usually accompanied alongside a roast or other meat dinner because the fat drippings from the main course can be used to help add seasoning and color. Apparently they were originally served as an appetizer with a thick gravy as a means of filling people up on the less expensive bread concoction before serving them the more expensive meat-based portions of the meal (thus making the entrée stretch farther amongst family and guests).  Kinda sounds like a trip to any Italian restaurant I've ever visited....
There are a few different ways that Yorkshire pudding can be prepared.  It can be made in one large baking dish, or individual ramekins or muffin tin.  Yorkshire pudding can also be used as the base of a meal with roast or sausages prepared inside (think pot-pie without the crust).  If you've ever heard of a Toad-in-a-Hole,  it's just a Yorkshire pudding base with sausages cooked inside and served with gravy.
I mentioned earlier that Yorkshire pudding is traditionally served savory; but that's not to say that you can't make 'em sweet.  Just use the basic recipe below (omit the black pepper but keep the salt) and serve with butter and jam, syrup or even ice cream!   Plus on a cold day it'll heat your house up.   Woo!  Double benefit food! 

Today I'm making my Yorkies to be served with a roast that I prepared in the slow cooker.  Unfortunately I didn't have a lot of fat drippings left over (apparently I picked a rather lean roast this time), so I fried up some bacon in a pan and used that fat in addition to some vegetable oil. 

I mean it's bacon, so.....is it really ever a bad idea.....???

So here we go!

·         vegetable oil, lard or fat drippings from prepared beef
·         2 large free-range eggs – room temp
·         100 g plain flour
·         100 ml milk – room temp
·         sea salt
·         freshly ground black pepper (*if making savory)

In a Bowl, beat the eggs, flour, milk and a pinch of salt and pepper together until light and smooth – you're looking for a nice and fluffy batter!  Let it rest while oven preheats
Stir in a bowl - move to measuring cup for easy pouring
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Get yourself a cupcake tin and add a tiny splash of vegetable oil into each of the compartments (if your muffin tray is a bit flimsy, set it over a cookie sheet to help prevent spills and provide extra support).  Pop into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes so the oil gets smoking hot. Give the batter one last good stir.

Carefully remove the tray from the oven, then confidently pour the batter evenly into the compartments.  If the first little drop of batter doesn't sizzle in the pan, pop it back in for another 5 minutes or so.  

See how the batter becomes immersed in the fat? - that's good!
Feel free to sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on top to finish.   Fill each compartment just over half way.  Set the tray back in the oven to cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until risen and golden - NO PEEKING or they'll fall!! 

About the 5 minute mark
Right about the 10 minute mark

Remove from oven and serve with gravy (if savory) or butter and jam (if sweet).

Aren't these just fun and puffy-lookin'?

A few things I noticed:
The batter is very simple, so it easily takes on the flavors of the fat you use and the foods you pair it with.  I made half with the bacon drippings and half with just regular vegetable oil.  As you can imagine, the vegetable oil ones came out rather plain - so unless you're using them for breakfast or a dessert, using the fat drippings from whatever meat you're preparing will go a long way to adding another layer of flavor to your dish.

This recipe will make 12 medium sized Yorkies if you fill the muffin compartments half-way or 6-8 if you fill them 3/4 of the way full.  If you don't use fill all of the areas with batter, fill them halfway with water so they don't burn while empty.


I have to tell you - the way these look coming out of the oven is absolutely awesome - especially if you get them to the table fast enough before they fall; these will definitely step up your Sunday night pot-roast game. I will shamefully admit I was slightly intimidated before making these (because, y'know...baking), but they really are quite easy to make.  So ditch the same old rolls this weekend and give Yorkshire Pudding a try.

And if you happen to have an extra seat at the table available, I'll even bring my own fork.

Thanks to Historic UK for the history lesson and Jamie Oliver for the recipe - who actually used the phrase "confidently pour the batter" in the recipe, so you know I had to leave it in....