Yorkshire pudding

28 Sep

Yorkshire pudding

When I was a little girl, my dad cooked a roast dinner every Sunday. Gradually, he stopped  – maybe roasts got too expensive, or family schedules too complicated, I don’t know. But I do remember years where Sunday night meant The Wonderful World of Walt Disney, roast beef, and bath-before-bed.

We were a meat-and-four-veg family  – typically potatoes, beans, corn and carrots, but sometimes squash, peas, beets, broccoli, spinach or chard featured instead. Whatever the vegetable, it was always boiled or steamed.

But I couldn’t have cared less about roast meat or boiled veg – for me, that dinner was all about the Yorkshire pudding. Never mind that dad’s Yorkshire puddings were often the size and density of hockey pucks – they were utterly delicious, and capable of holding a generous splash of gravy.

While I now know that airy puff is what you’re aiming for with Yorkshire puddings, I retain a fondness for the dense little numbers of my childhood. (I’ve noticed many recipes call for twice the number of eggs dad used, which would no doubt make a difference to the rise.)

Making Yorkshire puddings is pretty straightforward: chill the batter, heat the oil; take the roast out, crank the heat, pop the puddings in.

Despite measuring out the batter, some of my Yorkshire puddings puff like mushrooms, while others barely crest the rim of their cup.

“These look like they were made by eight different bakers,”my daughter observed, before reminding me that the Bake-off contestants were expected to make identical Yorkshire puddings. I blame my oven…;-)

Yorkshire puddings
(makes 8)

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • two eggs
  • 2 Tb sunflower oil, lard or dripping
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  2. Stir in the milk, then add the eggs. Beat until smooth and free from lumps.
  3. Leave the batter to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Divide the fat between eight muffin cups, and heat in the oven until the fat is smoking.
  5. Divide the batter equally between the cups (they should be about half full). Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown.


8 Responses to “Yorkshire pudding”

  1. creativeshare September 28, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    Your use of the words, “lard or dripping” made me chuckle and brought back memories of long ago. Last night I baked 2 lamb forequarter chops in a shallow baking tray covered with baking paper. After enjoying them with 4 veg, I had the task of cleaning up the mess, when I got to the baking tray, I looked down at the lamb dripping and thought how my Grandmother would never have thrown it out. It would have been saved for further cooking tasks or spread cold on bread and sprinkled with salt. Yes, we actually spread saturated fat on bread… My Grandfather lived into his mid 90’s and Grandmother almost 90. Viva Nostalgia!

    • Andrea September 28, 2016 at 9:47 am #

      My family did the same! Mum always had a tin in the fridge where she poured bacon fat, which was then used for making biscuits or dumplings, or whatever. I’m sure she would have spread it on bread as well. She certainly wouldn’t have dreamed of throwing it away…

  2. Margo September 28, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    When I have served yorkshires, accomplished cook friends have exclaimed “Oh how brave you are!” I always found them dead easy and reliable. And I, too, also prefer the denser morsels, with butter, not gravy.

    • Andrea September 28, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

      I’ve found that as well. Definitely less intimidating if you’re not bothered about how much they rise…;-)

  3. Anonymous September 30, 2016 at 12:51 am #

    At times much to my dismay the yorkies we made would puff up & be hollow inside. For myself I much prefer dense concave little pucks.

    • Andrea September 30, 2016 at 6:27 am #

      I’m with you… I always take the smallest ones like I’m being a good hostess and giving family/guests the puffy ones, but actually prefer them…;-)

  4. JACKIE MCLAUGHLIN October 2, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    John and I had the pleasure of joining your family a few times for Sunday dinner and the yorkshires were just fine!! Your Mom and your Dad enjoyed themselves so much in the kitchen! They loved to serve the fruits of their labour! The Horth house was a happy house when cooking and eating was taking place…other times too of course!! Lots and lots of good conversation! We started out Greg’s friend and ended up Fern and Ed’s friends.

    We too had roast beef or lamb every Sunday dinner and my Mom’s yorkshire pudding (made on rare occasions) was similar to Ed’s, God bless him. My mother was a basic cook (she tried her hand at canapés and hor d’oeuvres and the like.. ’60’s recipes from Good Housekeeping etc. for cocktail parties). We ate well enough. She made a ‘sponge’ or a jelly roll, tapioca or rice pudding for dessert…when we had dessert which was usually on Sundays as well. She had one cookie recipe. She bought the ‘Camp’ coffee and typhoon tea and Branston Pickle and HP of course and Ovaltine and Fry’s Cocoa and Bird’s Custard and back bacon and all the ‘old country’ products available on the ‘Woodward’s Food Floor”. After supper we would get into our pyjamas (we’d had our bath Saturday night for Sunday Mass) and we’d all sit and watch Ed Sullivan and Bonanza…then off to bed while they watched the next program..not suitable for children…cannot recall now…still remember the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five and Herman’s Hermits on Ed Sullivan…one time my Mom came and woke my sister Kerri and I up to come quickly…there was something on the news showing the Beatles…we saw Paul McCartney getting into a limo with Jane Asher and he had his arm around her…we started to cry and cried all night that he had a girlfriend..I was 10 and she was 8…she never got us out of bed again to see the Beatles as they dashed around (in black and white) in mod London…hounded by the paparazzi!

    We too envied the store bought pre made/prefab/preanything products we knew were available. She wouldn’t even buy boxed cereals. It was Cream of Wheat or Porridge in the winter and toast otherwise.. bacon and eggs after mass on Sundays (made by my father always). My mother died of melanoma in January 1968. She had been diagnosed in October 1967 and it was a hellish year with her away in Vancouver a lot and my father at his wit’s end. The Heather Pavilion at VGH was a grim place and all they had were Cobalt treatments. No family, all in Ireland or New York, except for my Aunt Bridie. She would show up at the hospital dressed like and trying to emulate Liz Taylor (this is when she was with Burton and they had just done ‘Cleopatra’) and take us kids away for treats while my Dad stayed with my Mom. She was usually with Rod and Ted, her two gay friends with a posh Lincoln. They adored my mother and made a fuss of us and tried to distract us. They had a little ‘bar’ in the backseat (honestly..it folded down when you pushed a button!!) Ted ‘came from money”. They filled it with treats for us kids (the whiskey and gin stashed somewhere else on these occasions)! Rod would fix my Mom’s hair (he was a hairdresser …of course…when we got back and they would visit with my Mom while my Dad took us down to the cafeteria for …more treats…or the Boston Clam Chowder which was great…I like it anyways.

    I was 14. My siblings were 12, 10 and 8 and we were all very confused. My father was lost. But he was a ‘high powered’ executive and in Vancouver a lot ‘on negotiations’. We had a few housekeepers, one live-in but we hated them all and we’d tell my Dad that they smoked (which they did and which he hated) and that was that. I was left to grocery shop ( driving the car starting at 14 going on 15 to Woodwards and back…remember the grocery pick up line?) and started buying ‘comfort’ things like Sugar Pops and Frosted Flakes for my siblings and packaged this and that. At first the kids would not eat the cereal because they said it was ‘pure sugar and junk’…the words my mother had used to describe boxed cereals. They felt disloyal even at that age…. Eventually they tucked in and they also ate whatever I put on the table (trying to replicate my mom’s cooking was mildly successful). Most of it is a blur to be honest.

    I love reading your Fern and Ed anecdotes, Andrea. It brings back some great memories of being in your home when you were all so young. Fern and Ed loved their children so much. They taught them well.

    Thanks for the recipes and the site. Take Care.

    • Andrea October 2, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

      It was always such fun when you guys came round. Mum and dad adored you both and we kids did too of course. They threw some great dinners — and parties too, but food was always the main event, at least from a child’s perspective. It certainly gave me a love of celebrating…

      That Woodwards food floor was something, wasn’t it? Even more so when you consider it was in 1960s/70s northern BC. (Wouldn’t be surprised if they sold sumac and zahatar even back then.) There was that little corner in the back right at the bottom of the vegetable aisle, with all the specialty items – I remember them selling things like chocolate covered ants and tins of turtle soup.

      Like you, I’d often head down there after school with the shopping list and the store card and do the family shop, then leave it in parcel pick-up. I’d bring home the metal licence plate things they gave you, then dad would head down to collect it in the car after work. No driving for me – though I was more like eleven or twelve at the time…

      Hearing what you went through with your mum’s illness makes me feel so sad for all of you – her of course, your poor dad, and you four kids. Being the eldest, the responsibility of filling her place would have sat so heavily on your shoulders, to try to be some sort of mother to the three younger ones.

      I hadn’t realised Aunt Bridie was there to support you through all of that – I would have thought she was still back in Ireland. The image of her sweeping into VGH with her beehive and Cleopatra eyeliner to take you cruising round Vancouver in a Lincoln Continental… God bless us, every one…

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