Growing up, Yorkshire puddings on a roast dinner were the ultimate way to enjoy a Sunday Roast. My Nan would spend all morning in the kitchen doing the vegetables and roasting the meat, and we’d all try and sneak little nibbles of everything throughout the day. I still smile thinking how Nan would carve off a little bit of roast beef and say, “That better not spoil your dinner!”
When I first moved out there was a dawning realization that with only my tiny, terrible oven (one of those microwave-type evil things), I didn’t have the space to cook a roast, though I could cook myself Yorkshire Puddings (a tray of, for myself, without sharing with my brother). Nan and I sat at a little café we like and on the back of a scrap of paper from her purse she wrote how she does it down for me – I still have that bit of paper in my little book of collected recipes.
Yorkshire Puddings are magic, both in the sense that something with such simple ingredients can be so gorgeous, but also because there’s a bit of a trick to getting it right. It’s a recipe certainly more about technique than ingredients and I think every branch of the family has their own special method.
1 heaped tablespoon of plain flour
Pinch of salt.
(Note: The ingredients should be relatively equal measure – but I’ve never known anyone in my family to measure things out, and I’m certainly more of a slap-dash and instinct type of gal. I use one egg, one heaped tablespoon and a dollop of milk, but if you don’t smash the shell up too much you can fill one half of it up with milk (twice) and use it as a measure – like I say, slap-dash. The mix is basically pancake batter without the sugar and should resemble runny cake batter).
Combine ingredients, and give it a bit of a whisk to get rid of any lumps.
Ideally, once the batter is made, leave to sit in the fridge for several hours. It would be great to make it in the morning and leave it until you’ve finished roasting the beef. But if you’re hankering for yorkies ASAP, you can use it straight away, though you may sacrifice a little height to the pudding.
Pre-heat the oven to high (around 250 degrees Celsius). Oil your muffin/Yorkshire tin and fill the base of each mold with about a millimetre of oil. Put the tray in the oven – you want it super hot, just before the oil starts to smoke.
Add your batter to the tray, filling each mold about one-third of the way. Be careful, because (if your oil and tray is hot enough) the oil and batter will sizzle and spatter a little.
Place in the oven immediately, and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Fight the temptation to open the oven door to check on them because they’ll collapse later. Remove when (hopefully) tripled in size and golden brown. In the top picture you can see how the uneven heat of my oven (it’s old and the front never gets as hot as the back) effects the rise of the pudding.
Serve along size a traditional roast dinner – or if you’re lovely and lazy, just drizzled in gravy (onion gravy is my personal favourite).
If you have leftovers (how?), Yorkie Puds can be eaten cold with jam, and leftover batter used for pancakes …or more puddings.
(Note: Yorkshire Pudding Tins are similar to muffin tins, but shallower and a softer curve (without corners) like a tin of tiny pie plates. My Mum’s/Nan’s has been around for nearly a million years, but you can easily make do with your standard muffin tin, or if you’re adding sausages for a proper big ‘Toad in the Hole’ a shallow baking tin words well too. )