Yorkshire puddings have a long history throughout the British Isles. The people of the County Yorkshire in Northern England tended to cook them underneath the roast to catch the drippings and preferred them crisper and more magnificent than softie southerners, which may be why Yorkshire County became famous for them.
It can’t be denied that the puddings made with water have a crisper batter: the all-milk versions are softer and richer.
The single most important thing to remember about yorkshire puddings is that the fat must be smoking hot before you begin cooking – you need to hear a good sizzle as batter hits the oil or drippings.
Proper yorkshire pudding should be made in one big tray, ready to carve up and dish out in slabs, but the modern habit of making individual ones is a welcome innovation as far as I’m concerned – you get more crispy edge.
Perfect Yorkshire Pudding
Makes 1 large or 12 individual puddings
1 cup white flour sifted
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs beaten
4 tablespoons of beef drippings or oil, like grapeseed, vegetable or canola
1. Sift the flour into a large bowl with salt.
2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs. Pour in half the milk, and then whisk together to make a smooth batter. Mix in the rest of the liquid, until you have a batter the consistency of heavy cream. You may need to add a touch of water. If the batter is too thick the puddings will not rise properly. Leave at room temperature for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours. It may thicken a little after standing, just add a little water to thin out the batter to the consistency of cream.
3. Once the meat has come out of the oven(usually you eat Yorkshire pudding with roast beef), turn the temperature up to 450 degrees F. Put a large roasting tin(13 x 9), or a 12-hole muffin tin, greased liberally with the beef drippings or oil( I use a pastry brush to do so) onto the middle rack of the oven and leave for 10 minutes to heat up.
4. Take the tin out of the oven, and as quickly as possible, ladle(0r pour from a measuring cup) the batter into the muffin tins or one large tin– if it doesn’t sizzle when you add the first bit of batter, put the tin back into the oven until it does.
5. Put the yorkshire batter into the oven and cook for 15 minutes until well risen and becoming golden, now turn the oven down to 400 degrees F, and cook for another 20 minutes, until deep golden brown and crispy. You want the inside of the puddings to be well cooked so that the yorkshires keep their shape after coming out of the oven. If too soft in the middle they will sink after you remove them from the oven. Keep an eye on them towards the end of the cooking time, but do not be tempted to open the door until they’re beautifully bronzed, because they’ll sink. If you can’t eat right away, turn off the oven and with the door slightly ajar, let them sit until you are ready to serve.
6. Eat immediately.