Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Yorkshire Pudding at last!

Today, September 4th

I am heading off for a very brief trip down memory lane today. A flying (well, driving) visit to Yorkshire, where I spent my first 15 years, then on to Oxford by Thursday. Today’s topic is the suggestion of the most prolific commenter on this blog, the slightly mysterious and very knowledgeable lapinbizarre. The topic is very dear to my heart – Yorkshire Puddding.

Yorkshire pudding is a batter pudding traditionally served before the meat - a variation on the age-old theme of fill ‘em up with stodge before you let ‘em at the expensive stuff. The first known recipe for ‘Yorkshire Pudding’ is in Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy (1747). Hannah did not invent the recipe, the concept had been around for a long time, presumably too well known for any housewife to need a written recipe and too humble to justify its own name. An earlier name for the same thing was ‘Dripping Pudding’ – a name that suggests its history, for it was originally cooked by being placed under the roasting meat (on its spit, in front of an open fire), where it absorbed the dripping fat and meat juices. When we use the term ‘roast’ now, we almost always mean ‘baked’ (in an oven), and Yorkshire Pudding is now cooked by baking – often in individual size portions.

There are two schools of thought on the modern version of baked Yorkshire Pud. One is that it should be light and puffy – and made in small tins they are the same as ‘popovers’. Heretics eat these with butter and jam. You know what they used to do with heretics, don’t you? The other traditionalists say it should be a dense batter, closer to the original thing - although without the enrichment of the constantly dripping meat juices and fat it must be a pale immitation of its former self.

A third school says that the best thing to do with Yorkshire pudding batter is to make ‘Toad in the Hole’ It is more usually made with sausages nowadays, but here is a late 18th C version.

Toad in a Hole.
Mix a pound of flour with a pint and a half of milk and four eggs into a batter, put in a little salt, beaten ginger, and a little grated nutmeg, put it into a deep dish that you intend to send it to table in, take the veiney piece of beef, sprinkle it with salt, put it into the batter, bake it two hours, and send it up hot.
[The new art of cookery, Richard Briggs; 1792].

This minimalist old recipe does not mention the crucial thing if you want good Yorkshires – the pan must have a goodly layer of fat in it (preferably meat dripping) and it must be very hot before you put in the batter. Also – if you use sausages, it wont take 2 hours!

Tomorrow’s Story …

Going Colonial.

Quotation for the Day …

Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold your life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time. Hannah Arendt:

9 comments:

Maria said...

i ABSOLUTELY LOVE OLD FOODIE SITE ITS AMAZING, INTRIGUING, FASCINATING, LEWD, BAWDY, WONDERFUL - i CANNOT STOP READING IT AND MARVELLING AT EVERY WORD. THANKYOU
Maria

Anonymous said...

In Yorkshire it is a starter to the main course. Other areas put it on the same plate as the dinner and are usually small round things, whilst in yorkshire it is cooked in a large baking tin with the meat juices, and the batter not being put in until the fat is smoking hot. A little beer makes them rise better

The Old Foodie said...

Hello 'Anonymous'. I like Yorkshire pudding any style - but especially with good roast beef gravy. We used to be allowed to eat any leftover YP with butter and jam, like scones.

barbdehn said...

It's wonderful to read about others who like this wonderful food. I live in Oklahoma now, but Mom was born in Canada. Her parents were born in Newfoundland. (Good Neufs)I have made this for many years. My children (now grown with kids of their own) called it "The Brain that ate Philadelphia", due to the way it looks. I must say I like the name, and now call it that myself. Keep those recipes comming!!

Kel said...

Never realised Yorkshire recipes were as early as 1747! Shall quote this to impress one day!

Drama said...

as I recall, Mother put a pan of batter under the roasting beef so that the beef dripped on to it. Incredibly good. If there was EVER anything left over it was eaten cold with melted butter!

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Drama - my mother used to cook them in pans greased very well with some of the drippings - and we used to eat any leftovers with butter too!

Anonymous said...

my grandmother made the "puds" for us then my dad. the ONLY way we ever ate our puds was with mint sauce and beef gravy. english all the way!

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Anonymous - I love them that way too. I love them anyway, actually!