Imagine this: sitting down with your family on a Sunday afternoon. It’s chaotic and wonderful. The table is heaving with tender roast beef, roast potatoes—perfectly buttery and crispy ’round the edges—grown in your back garden, roast carrots and parsnips, fresh greens… and Yorkshire pudding. Ready to be smothered in steaming hot gravy and devoured before you pass out on the couch.
Yorkshire pudding: To some, the mere mention of the stuff is enough to make the tastebuds cry with longing, and to others—namely, most of my American friends—it’s a mystery. And this, darlings, is no less than a travesty. Yorkshire pudding is a stalwart member of the Great British Menu, and yet almost no-one in my new home across the pond seems to know what it actually is. A crime, indeed. For those of you who fall into the (unfortunate) category of unenlightened souls, Yorkshire pudding is like a puffy, crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, savory side-dish that is essentially batter baked in hot oil until it fluffs up like magic. Please, don’t expect that definition in the Oxford dictionary anytime soon.
My family have always very much upheld the British tradition of a big roast dinner on a Sunday afternoon, either out at a pub or at home, where years of experience lend themselves to my parents’ and grandparents’ ability to cook up a feast fit for royalty. And yet, I never dabbled too much in learning the art of putting on a fine roast dinner until I moved to the States this year. Overwhelmed with homesickness, I decided it was high time I taught myself the ways of the master chefs before me. And, somehow, I succeeded, and quite honestly it was among the proudest moments of my life. But I held off on making Yorkshire pudding until very recently, as it’s famously tricky to get “just right.”
Somehow, I did it. And I am here to share it with you all. Pair this with a hearty roast dinner (beef is classic), or sausages to make what the Brits call “Toad in the Hole.” Smother in gravy and voila… the best comfort food for cold winter dinners!
175g/6oz or 3/4 cup of plain flour
2 free-range eggs
175ml/6fl oz or 3/4 cup of milk (I used flax milk, but my family typically uses 2% dairy milk)
110ml/2fl oz or 1/4 cup of water
2 tbsp your favorite oil or beef dripping
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 425.
Place a sieve over a mixing bowl, and sift the flour in (this helps prevent any lumps from forming when you mix in the liquid). Then, with the back of a tablespoon, make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Add the salt and pepper.
Measure the milk and water into a measuring jug. Whisk the eggs wth an electric whisk and as you beat them the flour around the edges will be slowly incorporated. Add the milk and water mixture gradually, keeping the whisk going. When all the liquid is in, scrape any floury bits off the side of the bowl and back into the mixture, and whisk again until it’s smooth.
If you’re serving the Yorkshire pudding with a roasted meat, remove the meat from the oven to let it rest (or if it’s not ready place it on a lower shelf) and turn the oven up to 425. Spoon two tablespoons of the fat from your meat into a roasting tin (ideally 11×9 inches) and allow it to pre-heat in the oven. When the oven is up to temperature remove the tin, using an oven glove, and place it over direct heat (turned to medium). Then, when the fat begins to shimmer and smoke a little, pour in the batter. The oil needs to be as hot as possible to yield the best results. Tip the batter evenly all round the tin and then place on a high shelf in the oven.
Cook for 40 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Serve it cut into squares… the bigger the better!
Do you have any favorite recipes from around the world? Tweet us @litdarling!