Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Life List: Learn to make Yorkshire Pudding

Of the assorted nationalities that comprise my family tree--French, German (I...think?), Irish, English, who knows what else--I'd say the one that I felt most tied to growing up was English. This was in large part because my great-grandfather, who I remember a little, immigrated from England, and my grandmother still has family there who I have met. Both my grandmother and great aunt, despite having lived in the U.S. their whole lives, still have distinctly British qualities about them--habits, preferences, etc--many of which have rubbed off on me.

Not the least of these is a deep and abiding love of Yorkshire pudding. England is not exactly known for its dazzling cuisine, at least in comparison to the rich traditions of places like France or Italy, but no food says England to me quite like a traditional English Roast: roast beef, roasted veggies, Yorkshire pudding, and gravy.  During my semester abroad, I spent many Sunday mornings exploring the various churches and cathedrals in London, returning home for lunch at our local pub, which--like many pubs--boasted a delicious Sunday roast dinner.

For Christmas this year, we decided to forgo the usual turkey with all the trimmings and, instead, pull out another family favorite: roast beef with Yorkshire pudding.  And since learning to make Yorkshire pudding is on my Life List, it seemed like the perfect time to give it a go.  So I enlisted my father, our resident Yorkshire pudding-making expert, to teach me (with some assistance from the Joy of Cooking). And as it turns out, it's pretty easy to make, so without further ado....

Yorkshire Pudding
Traditionally, Yorkshire pudding was cooked in the same pan as the roast, allowing the drippings to fall into the batter as it cooked.  It was also used as a sort of "filler" course amongst poorer families who couldn't afford much meat.  Nowadays it serves as the starch, alongside the roast, root vegetables, and gravy. We also double the usual recipe, because you can never have too much Yorkshire pudding.  There were five of us at Christmas dinner, and we ate every last crumb of it.

Start with all your ingredients at room temperature.

In a bowl, mix 1 3/4 cups flour (that's 1.75 cups, just to be clear) and 1 teaspoon salt.

Make a well in the center, and pour in 1 cup milk and 1 cup water. Stir in the liquid and then beat until fluffy.  

Add 4 eggs. (I recommend beating them first, and then adding them to the flour mixture.)

Once you've added the eggs, beat the mixture until large bubbles rise on the surface. This takes longer than you'd expect and, if you're anything like me, will lead to questions about what, exactly, constitutes a "large" bubble. 

According to Dad, these are large enough:

Then cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least an hour. Longer is better. (That's what she s---nevermind.)

Once it's good and refrigerated, take it out of the fridge and let it sit until it's back to room temperature.  While you're waiting, preheat the oven to 400°.  

When it has reached room temperature, beat that sucker again--yep, you heard me. And again: large bubbles. (It is at this point that you may find yourself imitating that one fish from Finding Nemo who's obsessed with bubbles.  "Bubbles? My bubbles!")

(Pay no attention to the color. The lighting is funny on this photo.)

Now you're ready to prep your pans.  Stick 'em in the oven for a couple of minutes until they're hot. Then put a little bit of butter into each.  (If you're using a 9x13 pan, the recipe calls for 1/4 cup butter. If you're using muffin pans or similar, just eyeball it.  We used both.)

Pour in the batter--it should be about 1/2 inch deep.

Bake for 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350° and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the pudding in the 9x13 pan into squares. Serve immediately, while still hot.

Et voila!

Serve with roast beef or turkey, roasted vegetables and 'taters (we used carrots, parsnips, onions, celery, yams and regular potatoes), and gravy.  Guinness or Strongbow optional. Enjoy!


  1. Firstly, I Aaaaaam a Faaaaaaan of Yaaaaaams!

    Secondly, so very deeply proud of the foodie within you!


  2. Yorkshire pud is also delicious with jam or syrup as a dessert. Some British people say this is blasphemy but it's often how people in Yorkshire used to have it and it's how my grandfather from Birmingham grew up eating it. My husband is firmly of the blasphemous camp, however, so I've not had it this way in years :(

  3. Oh wow, I would never have thought of having it as a dessert, but it makes sense, given its similarity to puff pastry. I may have to give it a try.