"I'm half Yorkshire." That's what I used to say when I was a kid. Like Yorkshire is a whole other country, which is really how it felt when we passed from the red rose of Lancashire to the white rose of Yorkshire on the long journey north to see my Grandparents in Denton, near Ilkley. This feeling of belonging to another clan was never more heartfelt than during Sunday lunches when Yorkshire puddings drowning in onion gravy were served by themselves at the start of the weekly feast. There was always a squabble over who would get the last one, which invariably ended with the last poor pudding being quartered before being greedily gobbled down in one bite. Once consumed the main course would be served on the same plate, "keep your cutlery" was the best advice we could give to uninitiated guests.
You may remember that my year's New Year resolution for 2014 has been to cook a roast every Sunday for my family and I'm delighted I've stuck to it. It's been a pleasure to introduce Bella & Bear to their culinary heritage and they're just as much in thrall to Yorkshire puddings as I was at their age.
So I thought with Thanksgiving a few weeks away and only six Sunday's until Christmas I would share a few of the recipes that have made 2014 special for us and I'm starting with a true heritage recipe for real Yorkshire Puddings passed down for generations by my mum's family. I hope you'll love them as much as we do.
You will need:
125g//4oz of plain flour
A pinch of salt
1 large egg
300ml//10fl oz of milk
15ml//1tbsp vegetable oil
Set the oven to 220ºC//425ºF or gas mark 7 and pre-heat your pudding tin or bake dish. For individual Yorkshire puddings add a splash of oil to each hole. I love to use beef dripping (when cooking roast beef) or goose fat (when cooking a roast chicken) instead of vegetable oil, it really adds to the flavour of the puddings.
Sift the flour and salt together giving it a good airing (i.e. hold the sieve high(ish) above the bowl to encourage air into the mix). Make a well in the centre of the sifted flour and break the egg into the well. On a low setting use an automatic hand whisk to whisk the egg and flour together while very slowly adding the milk. If you throw it all in together the mixture will be lumpy and yuk. You're aiming to achieve a smooth batter with lots of lovely bubbles. Once the batter is smooth you can increase the speed of the whisk to get even more air into the mix, whisk for at least five minutes, up to ten minutes is plenty.
Many people advocate covering the batter and leaving it to settle for an hour. I haven't found this to be necessary to achieve really excellent Yorkshire puds but by all means follow tradition if you're so inclined.
When the oil in the tin is smokin' hot (like yo' mama!) add approximately 1tbsp of batter to each pudding hole and swiftly return to the oven to bake until risen and golden brown. Do not be tempted to open the oven to check on them until they've been baking for at least 30 minutes. Bake them for up to an hour if necessary.
Serve immediately with oodles of onion gravy or freeze for up to three months.