NOTHING beats a tasty Yorkshire Pudding on a cold winter’s night...
And tomorrow, one of the region’s best-loved inventions will be celebrated on Yorkshire Pudding Day.
“There’s nothing better than a hot Yorkshire straight from the oven,” says Sheffield College chef lecturer Peter Mara, who first learned to make them as a trainee chef at the Royal Vic in Sheffield 40 years ago.
They have been around for years and the reason they have lasted is because they are cheap, easy and filling. “You can put just about anything you want in one and call it dinner,” says Peter
The first recorded reference of a Yorkshire pudding was in Hannah Glasse’s Chapter of Puddings’ in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple’ book, published in 1747. And it is a worn first-edition of that book Peter pulls from the shelf as he sets about demonstrating how to make the perfect Yorkshire. It could not be simpler: Peter mixes eggs, flour, milk and a little salt before popping the mixture in to cook.
“Yorkshire puddings are so versatile,” he says. “Years ago, when families were much bigger, Yorkshire puddings were a great way of ensuring everyone got fed without breaking the bank, as they cost just coppers to make and are delicious.
“The key is confidence – play around with the ingredients and timings until you find what works for you.”
Peter says it is often the same mistakes people make that cause their puddings to fail. “Either the mixture is too thick or thin or they fall flat in the oven, but they really are simple once you know how,” he says. “Just remember, use olive oil, not virgin oil, use whole milk, not skimmed milk, and don’t slam your oven door – unless you want pancakes.
“Also, allow your oven and pudding tray to get hot enough – that’s a big one. It’s not easy waiting when you’re hungry, but you’ll be glad you did.”
Peter Mara’s puds
To make six medium sized Yorkshire Puddings...
200g Plain flour
Just over a pint of whole milk
* Set your oven to 230/gas mark 8. Put a splash of oil in the bottom of each pudding segment and put the tray in the oven to get hot.
* Crack your eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the milk. Sieve in the plain flour to get rid of any bits and mix well, making sure to stir in all the mixture from the side of the bowl. Finally add a generous pinch of salt and sieve the whole mixture one more time. Take your now hot tray out of the oven and pour some mixture into each segment. Because the tray is hot, you should see the mixture starting to cook straight away. * Depending on your oven, it can take anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes for the batter to cook so keep an eye on them, but don’t be tempted to keep opening the door as your puddings will fall flat as pancakes!
* Once they’re done, how you eat them is up to you. With all the trimmings, with sage and thyme, a generous spoon of onion gravy, a portion of stew, chilli or bolognaise, with a sausage as toad in the hole, or even just on their own. No food is more versatile.