When it comes to Yorkshire fare, nothing packs a punch like a piping hot pudding.
And tomorrow one of the region’s best-loved inventions celebrates its own day – British Yorkshire Pudding Day.
Peter Mara, Sheffield College chef lecturer, says: “There’s nothing quite like a hot Yorkshire Pudding straight from the oven.”
“The reason Yorkshire puddings are still so popular after all these years is because they’re cheap to make, easy to produce and filling.
“Basically you can put anything inside one and call it a meal.”
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 Pud.
The recipe could not be simpler – mix eggs, flour, milk and a little salt before popping the mixture in to cook for 20 minutes.
Peter, who first learned to make Yorkshire puddings as a trainee chef at the Royal Victoria in Sheffield 40 years ago, says: “Years ago, when families were much bigger, Yorkshire puddings were a great way of ensuring everyone got fed without breaking the bank – they cost coppers to make and are delicious every time.
“I still remember when the pubs around here used to serve them free at the bar on quiz nights.”
Peter, aged 63, says, despite their simplicity, people often fret about tackling cooking the regional treasures for fear of getting them wrong.
He says: “They think the mixture will be too thick or thin or fall flat in the oven, but they really are simple once you know how.
“The key is confidence and not being afraid to play around with the ingredients and timings.”
Peter also says it is the same common mistakes people make which causes the puddings to fail.
He says: “Making sure the oven tray is hot before you add your batter is a must.
“Also, don’t substitute olive oil with virgin oil as it won’t reach the temperature needed.
“Likewise, don’t swap whole milk for skimmed milk as Yorkshire puddings need a certain amount of fat content.
“Finally, don’t slam the oven door as you go in and out - unless you want to end up with pancakes.”
At Sheffield’s new Inox Dine restaurant, at Sheffield University’s students’ union, chef Joe Berry believes he has put the icing on the cake with his own special invention, the ‘Henderson’s Special’ Yorkshire Pudding, which he will be serving tomorrow as part of his Sunday lunch line-up.
He says: “I thought the opportunity to team up two Yorkshire favourites was too good to miss.
“Yorkshire pudding has become a world renowned institution and, as a Yorkshire chef, it’s a joy to cook because of its beautiful simplicity.”
* Send us your Yorkshire Pudding video and the best will win £25. See page 2 for details.
How to make the perfect yorkshire pudding
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. 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.
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.