Yorkshire Pudding is a traditional and popular British dish, originating from the North-east of England, which some British people find similar in appearance and consistency to a cowpat. This does not seem to stop tourists from thinking they enjoy it though.
A Little History
Yorkshire Pudding was originally used as a first course filler for poor people who could not afford much meat. Years ago, when the meat was cooked on a spit or trivitt, the batter was put underneath and the fat and meat juice dripped onto the batter. If there wasn't enough meat to go around the children would get Yorkshire pudding and gravy as their main meal. Now the dish is almost always served with a roast beef main course to form part of a 'traditional English dinner'. In its home county, it is often served on its own filled with onion gravy so that it acts as a form of edible soup bowl. This practice probably originated with people who could not afford crockery either.
It has become very popular with tourists in search of traditional English fare and ranks along with fish and chips as an internationally known item of English cuisine. In fact many foreigners believe the English national dish is 'Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding' but as we all know it is really Curry.
How to Make It
Yorkshire pudding can be cooked in a large flat tray, and cut into slices, which is called a bed of Yorkshire pudding, otherwise they can be served as small individual bun-sized puddings. Either way, the perfect pudding has a big dip in the middle, where the gravy is poured in, and the edges rise up around the edge of the dish into a crisp crust.
Yorkshire pudding recipe
100g/4oz plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
A pinch of white pepper
1 tablespoon of suet (optional - but adds texture to the bed variant)
200 ml of milk - topped up to 250ml with water (1/2 pint liquid)
Put flour, salt and eggs in a bowl and beat with a fork or handmixer, gradually add the liquid until the batter is smooth and creamy. Leave the batter to stand for ten minutes, it improves the pudding.
Put some beef fat into either one large metal roasting tray, or 12 individual metal small patty tins. Preferably the fat will be taken from the pan in which the beef or meat is roasting.
Put the tray or tin in the oven at a temperature of 225°C. Leave them there for five to ten minutes until the fat is smoking hot.
Pour in the batter. Put the pudding in the oven.
A bed of Yorkshire pudding in one large roasting tray will take 30 minutes to cook. Individual puddings in patty tins will take 10 to 15 minutes.
The puddings are ready when they are well risen around the edges and golden brown.
A Yorkshire pudding bed cooked with whole sausages thrown into the batter is called toad-in-the-hole.
Leftover yorkshire pudding can be eaten with jam.