Traditional Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

How to make the Perfect Yorkshire Pudding

What is a Yorkshire Pudding? This is often the question put to me by my Spanish friends, and probably by our readers in other parts of the world. A Yorkshire pudding is a batter pudding which was originally designed (by a Yorkshire Chef, naturally) to use up the hot fat and juices that came from the Sunday roast. The flavours obtained from the meat are soaked up by the pudding.

In some parts of the North east of England, especially Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland, the pudding is served first - before the main course. In some areas, the whole meal is served inside a large plate sized pudding and forms an integral part of the meal.

Traditionally the pudding is served as an accompaniment to the roast beef and vegetables - roasted potatoes, cabbage and carrots, There are many schools of thought on what constitutes the perfect recipe for Yorkshire pudding. The ingredients are simple; eggs, flour, milk and a pinch of salt. How difficult could it be to make the perfect Yorkshire Pudding?

The secret lies not only in the way the ingredients are assembled or in the amounts of each ingredient. The real secret lies in the temperature of the oven and the pre-heating of the lard in the tins.
Yorkshire puddings can be made in large square tins, large round tins, small round tins or more commonly large bun tins. I personally use the buns tins and obtain 100% success every time I make them.

All of the top celebrity chefs claim to have the "best Yorkshire pudding recipe ever". I have tried them all - and they don't! All the recipes are more or less the same. There's only so much you can do with the basic ingredients. If you add other ingredients then it ceases to be a Yorkshire pudding.
"Keep it simple" is the way to go. Use good quality fat, goose fat is great for flavour if you can get it, otherwise use lard, at a push you could use vegetable oil. Never use olive oil. The cooking temperature is far too high.

You must preheat the oven to 230f. I use a small electric oven with built in grill, which is thermostatically controlled so I can set the temperature quite accurately. I also use this oven for making cakes. I have checked the temperatures with an oven thermometer, so I know that the settings are accurate. But they will cook just as well in a conventional oven, as long as the temperature can be achieved

The recipe I use has been handed down through two generations. I remember watching my grandmother making Yorkshire puddings in a coal-fired oven over 50 years ago. Moreover, they always came out perfect. How she controlled the temperature, I shall never know. My mother used the same recipe and ultimately, I use the same simple recipe to obtain perfect puddings every time.

The Recipe
  • 4 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 10 fl oz of milk (approximately)
  • Goose fat, lard or vegetable oil for the tins
Into a large bowl, sieve the salt and flour to get plenty of air into it. Slowly add the beaten eggs, whisking with a fork or balloon whisk, add the milk slowly until a consistency of single cream is achieved. Whisk until lump free. Set aside while you prepare the tins.

You can use any shape or size of tin, depending on personal preference. If you are making 'Toad in the Hole' you will need large square tins. Simply brown the sausages before placing in the tin with the batter mix. However, for the point of this article, we are making individual Yorkshire puddings, so use bun tins.

And this is where the magic begins. Put about a tablespoon of fat into each tin and place in the oven for about five minutes until the fat is smoking hot. This is essential for good rising puddings. When the fat has reached the smoking stage, carefully take the tins out of the oven and quickly pour the batter into each bun tins (don't wear shorts when doing this, I still have the scars from the boiling fat). If all is well you should get a distinct 'sizzle' and you will see the batter bubble and boil in the hot fat. If you don't get this effect, your fat is not hot enough and the puddings won't rise as well as they should. Place the tins back in the oven as quickly as possible to maintain the heat.

It is very important that you do not open the oven door during the cooking process. If you do, your risen puddings will collapse and you will end up with 'jaffa cakes ' (thin flat disks). The puddings should take about 15 minutes to cook to a crispy light brown. If you are using bigger tins, then the cooking time will probably take about 30 minutes.
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