I took for granted the fact these crispy golden balloons of delight would appear on my plate every Sunday where they would be used to scrupulously mop up every last drop of gravy.
With home comforts now a thing of the past, my attempts at recreating these gravy hoovers have fallen flat – literally. On the hunt for the perfect Yorkshire pudding recipe, I turned to the professionals to ask for their top tips.
A Yorkshire pudding batter is made from equal measures of three ingredients: flour, eggs and milk. Some recipes call for a mix of water and milk which makes for a lighter mix and therefore a crispier batter. However, sticking with milk gives a richer, softer pudding with a far superior mopping capacity.
If you don’t have a set of scales to hand, Chez Roux Executive Chef Toby Stuart advises using a coffee mug as a way of measuring ingredients. Simply use one coffee mug of each ingredient (crack your eggs into the mug) and combine to make the batter, depending on the size of the mug, this should be enough to make 4-6 pudding. (Toby’s Yorkshire pudding recipe contains 32 eggs, 1kg flour and 1 litre of milk. Make sure you’re hungry before going round to his house for a Sunday roast.)
To avoid lumps in your batter (that won’t dissolve by themselves – no matter how long you leave the batter to rest), tip the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Whisk your eggs and add to the milk before slowly adding this mix into your well and drawing in the flour gently with a wooden spoon.
The advice was unanimous: the batter must be made in advance and kept in the fridge (unless you’re from The Royal Society of Chemistry and insist the batter must be kept at room temperature). The resting has been cited as ‘the single most important step’ by Serious Eats who conducted a full set of Yorkshire Pudding experiments and concluded an un-rested batter creates flat and positively un-Yorkshire puddings.
Traditionally, Yorkshire puddings were cooked in a large tin(and then eaten before a roast to fill you up so you didn’t eat as much of the more expensive main course – Yorkshire, you’re so thrifty), or in a Yorkshire pudding tray, this tray is not as deep as a muffin tin and will ensure a better rise of your pudding.
Pre-heat the oven to around 220C and use a fat that can be heated to the point that if your fire alarm’s not going off, then you’re doing it wrong. Add the batter to the hot fat, the resulting sizzle will be like music to your ears, and place in the hot oven until well risen. Resist the urge to open the door – this will only end in tears and sorry excuses for Yorkshire puddings (I speak from experience. Many experiences.)
Executive Chef at the Langham Hotel, London Chris King likes to use lard to cook his Yorkshire puddings – its high smoke point means that it won’t burn on the outside before the inside of the pudding has cooked.
Cactus Kitchens Home Economist Bridget Colvin places her batter tin on a lit stove to keep the fat hot whilst adding the batter.
Cactus Kitchens Staff Writer Elizabeth Lloyd-Owen remembers Yorkshire puddings a little differently. Her grandmother used to make them with raisins and they would then be eaten with copious amounts of golden syrup and cream. Delicious, but maybe not best paired with roast beef and all the trimmings.