Date: 22:07:25 on Monday, December 07, 2009
Subject: Traditional Yorkshire Pudding
Notes: Today Yorkshire pudding is used as an accompaniment to a roast beef dinner and increasingly served in the UK with any roast meal such as chicken, pork or even lamb, which I personally find bizarre. Most of you will be familiar with the small circular puddings that were invented by the modern catering industry for convenience of serving, but that is not how a proper homemade yorkshire should be cooked.
The pudding was first invented in the county of Yorkshire about 300 years ago as a way of padding out a meal for the poor, flour and eggs being cheaper and more readily available than beef. They would eat half the pudding as a first course with gravy, to fill the stomach, ahead of the main course, a small portion of beef and vegetables. Afterwards they would finish the meal with the other half of the pudding eaten cold and sprinkled with sugar.
In those days the beef would have spit-roasted above the open kitchen fire or range. The pudding mix would be poured into a large roasting tin and placed under the spitted meat, so that it cooked partially with the fierce heat of the fire and partially from the tasty meat juices dripping from the joint. Today we can only attempt to recreate those effects and traditional tastes, as I will explain in the method below.
Most recipes today will talk in terms of mixing the batter with water and using a single egg. That can taste alright and turn out OK, but I find it can equally end up as a flat, non-risen stodgy pudding more akin to a cake (and not pleasant at all).
INGREDIENTS (serves 4 people)
225 grams (8 oz) (1 cup) of Plain flour
3 large eggs
Pinch of salt
Milk as required
3 serving spoonfulls of oil (cooking, olive etc)
Sieve the flour into a bowl, break in the three eggs and a pinch of salt. Whisk the mixture briskly, by hand or (preferably) with an electric hand whisk, while slowly adding the milk. The idea is to get as much in the way of air bubbles into the mix to help it rise. The finished mixture should not be thick (add more milk if it is) or too watery (add more flour). It should have the consistancy of cream and run freely off a spoon.
When it is mixed cover the bowl with a cloth and leave to stand for at least an hour. This allows the last of any unmixed flour to soak up the milk. Ideally let it stand for two hours while your beef is cooking. Give the mixture a final brisk whisking immediately just ahead of cooking.
When you take your cooked meat out of the oven, to rest before carving, whack the oven up to its highest setting and allow it to come up to temperature. Put the oil into the tin or crock dish that you intend cooking the pudding in, and swirl it around the bottom and sides. Place into the oven and let it heat up until the oil is smoking. Take the dish out of the oven (close the door to retain the heat) and quickly pour in the batter mix (it should sizzle round the edges as you do so, if you have the heat right).
Splash three or four serving-spoons full of the meat juices onto the top of the batter mix before placing in the middle shelf of the oven. Cook the pudding for about twenty minutes until it has finished rising and starts to lightly brown (during this time you can boil or steam your vegetables and start carving the meat.
Cut the cooked pudding into suitable size slabs and add to your plates of carved meat and veg. Cover with gravy and serve.