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Yorkshire Pudding… From America?

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Despite the lofty claims that time-traveling Doctor Who invented the savory Yorkshire Pudding, the actual inventor of this common Sunday Roast item is unknown.

There’s a recipe for Yorkshire pudding that dates back to the early 18th Century, but as for the first person to create this savory item, we’ll probably never know.

The recipe is so simple (the ingredients and quantities are the same as pancake batter) that it’s likely to have been around for centuries. For damned good reason. These golden brown treats are the bomb.

Made from flour, eggs, milk (or water), and pan drippings, Yorkshire pudding (pronounced your-key poodd) must be at least four inches tall to qualify as a real Yorkie Pud (pronounced your-key poodd).

They are a lovely, savory cup and pretty versatile. Crispy on the outside, soft and delicate on the inside, and the best part is that anyone can make them as long as there is a muffin pan in the house. They are a delectable addition to any roast dinner.

Plate of Yorkshire Pudding and Roast Beef
image by adactio is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

In many ways, making Yorkies or Popovers is similar to making a pancake. As mentioned, the ingredients are essentially the same.

However, instead of creating a flat skillet cake, you’re making one that rises on the sides and sinks in the middle and is super crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, forming the perfect little cup that you can fill with gravy without it turning into mush.

Either that or you’re creating a darling crispy puff ball with an adequate amount of bounce and fluff on the inside, paired with fresh whipped cream and a raspberry reduction.

Could it be possible that the colonies improved this popular British menu item? Or was it invented in America in the first place?

The American Yorkshire Pudding?

Did you know there’s an outlandish theory floating around the internet that Americans actually invented the Yorkshire pudding?

The truth is that what Americans tend to make is what is called a “popover” (sometimes known as a Laplander) rather than a pudding.

Two key differences exist between the American popover and the traditional “Yorkies”.

  • Instead of beef drippings being used as fat in the pastry, the popover uses butter. Because of this, the popover’s flavor is less savory and more like a dinner roll than a savory pud. Traditionally, Yorkies were made much like funnel cakes and could be sweetened and eaten with jelly or other dessert items. The American version is even more suited to the dessert option!
  • My British editor, who has been quoted in a national newspaper on the subject of Yorkshire puddings puts this next difference best [Editorial Note: Oh come now, I’m not one to blow my own trumpet]. According to him, Yorkshire puddings and popovers are like belly buttons; Yorkshire puddings are “innies” and popovers are “outies!”

Innies!

Plateful of Yorkshire Puddings
image by ZapTheDingbat is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Outies!

Yorkshire Popover
image by grongar is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

See Related: Weird, Bizzare Foods from Around the World

Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

Anyone can make Yorkshire puddings as long as you own basic pancake ingredients and a muffin tin – you know, like a normal person. Your traditional Yorkshire pudding is in a small cup shape, so cupcake pans and muffin tins are ideal for this.

You can also go pub-favorite style, and create a giant, plate-filling Yorkshire pudding using an 8″ x 2″ or 9″ x 2″ cake pan.

Serving of Yorkshire Meat Pudding
image by Mr Barndoor is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Stone the crows! Look at that monster! As you can see, one of these giant Yorkies contains the entire meal: meat, veggies, and gravy. It’s like a much more satisfying bread bowl; you can find them on pub menus across the UK.

For the sake of this article, I’ll be talking about your average traditional Yorkshire pudding recipe, which produces those tasty little cups you can make in a muffin tin.

Fresh From the Oven Yorkshire Pudding
image by dalecruse is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The best Yorkshire pudding is about 1.5 – 2 inches deep, and if done correctly, the edges will raise above the edges of the muffin tin for a total height of about 4 inches.

Yorkshire Pudding Ingredients & Tools

You will need the following Ingredients to achieve peak Yorkshire:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup of beef drippings from roast beef or prime rib (bacon fat, and vegetable oil work too!)

And the following Tools:

  • Required Tools:
    • One bowl
    • Muffin tin (or pie pan or cast-iron skillet or popover pan depending on the size you want your puds)
  • Optional Tools:

Yorkshire Pudding Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Pour just enough oil or drippings to cover the bottom of the tin. If you fill the cups too full, you’ll have a smoky mess on your hands and all over your kitchen.
  • Once fully preheated, place the tin into the hot oven.
  • Whisk together the flour and salt, then add in the eggs and milk.
  • Pour the whisked eggs and milk into the dry ingredients and mix until the pudding batter is smooth.
  • Allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes. (For best results, let the batter rest overnight in the fridge.)
  • Add a teaspoon of fat or oil to each cup of a 12-cup muffin tin and transfer to the oven to heat. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Note: you only need enough fat or oil to just cover the bottom of the tin. If you overfill the tin, you will have a VERY smoky mess.
  • Remove the hot pan from the oven and place on a sturdy heat-resistant surface.
  • Confidently pour the batter into the cups equally. The batter should come up about halfway. Be Careful! Hot fat may spit at your delicate skin. Apply some ridiculously soothing Aloe Vera if the hot fat gets you anyway. Maybe chefs should get hazard pay…
  • Return the muffin tin to the oven for 10 to 12 minutes to bake (or in case you have an ancient oven, 25 minutes). Don’t open the oven door! It needs to stay shut so the batter rises.
  • Remove the puddings from the oven when they are golden brown and crisp on the top. Serve immediately for the best Yorkshire puddings your mouth has ever encountered!

Popover Recipe

Yorkshire Popovers
image by Vegan Feast Catering is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ah, good old American popovers! It’s as American as apple pie…which also came from England. But hey, now, as they’re more commonly served as desserts or sweet individual light bites, they’re different! Right?…Right?…

Popover Ingredients & Tools

Ingredients for the best popovers of your life:

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk, also room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour, also room temperature in case you keep your flour chilly
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter (have some extra softened butter on hand to grease the pan like it’s the palm of the admissions officer at your kid’s dream school)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • OPTIONAL: You can add a teaspoon of fresh thyme or chives (or 1/2 teaspoon dried) for an extra bounce of flavor
Baked Parmesan Chive Popovers
image by Karen and Brad Emerson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Required Tools:

Optional Tools:

  • Sifter or Sieve
  • Another fancy roux whisk? Why not!
Piece of Popover
image by Jeremy Noble  is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Popover Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Generously grease the popover pan or custard cups with your softened butter. More butter, more better, amiright?
  • Place the pan in the hot oven for 2 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt first, then whisk in the eggs and milk. It should resemble a thin pancake batter.
  • Once preheated, pull the hot pan out of the oven and pour the batter slightly less than halfway up each cup.
  • Bake for 3o minutes. Again, don’t open the oven door even for a peek so that the batter rises properly.
  • Devour.
Freshly Baked Yorkshire Pudding
image by fugzu is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

See Related: What Are the Best Potato Chips? Best Chips for Road Trips

BONUS! Toad in the Hole Recipe

No, we aren’t suggesting you eat toads—that’s French cuisine. We are suggesting that you try this amusingly named British food!

When you bake sausages into your Yorkshire batter, they appear like little toads popping their heads out of golf holes. See? Isn’t it wholesome?

Plate of Veggies, Sausages and Mash with Yorkshire Pudding
image by Gordon Joly is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There are two ways to have your toad in the hole. First, in a larger pan, you can pour all of the batter and all of your sausages.

Second, (and honestly more fun) you can pop your sausages into your cup-style yorkshire puddings!

Sausage Toad in the Hole and Yorkshire Pudding
image by Ash Berlin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Toad in the Hole Ingredients & Tools

We’re making the cuter cup-style Yorkshire pudding version – ideal for single servings. You’ll need:

  • Exactly the same ingredients and tools as the Yorkshire pudding recipe listed above; AND
  • Sausages! Big ones for the big pan, or smaller links for the puds. The variety is totally up to your palate. Bangers (traditional English pork sausages), breakfast pork, chicken, beef, or turkey sausages all work fine!

Toad in the Hole Instructions

  • Brown your sausages in a skillet on medium-high with a bit of oil or beef dripping.
  • Complete the first few steps of the Yorkshire pudding recipe above.
  • Once the sausages are browned and the tin is filled with runny batter, pop a sausage into each cup. (If you try the big dish, pack the sausages into a casserole dish and pour the batter straight over them before popping them into the oven).
  • The rest of the recipe will stay the same!
Plate of Sausage and Mash Yorkshire Pudding
image by Haydn Blackey is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Can You Adapt a Traditional Recipe Successfully?

Absolutely. Most people who make Yorkshire puddings use butter or oil instead of beef drippings. It’s easier to source than dripping is [EN: debatable, since you’ll be having them with a roast dinner!] and it is considerably healthier.

When it comes to those who are gluten-free, you’re also in luck! Gluten-free all-purpose flours will often do the trick for those who need to make flour substitutions. But these flours often have a different texture and create a different dining experience.

Then there are the various spices that can be added to the pastry: mustard powders are very commonly added in the US to popovers. You may also find Italian seasoning, paprika, cumin, and even garlic powder added to create specific complimentary flavors for a specific dish.

Many of these work well, but it is like eating coconut milk ice cream: your tongue says it has a perfect taste, but your mind knows that there is something that is non-traditional entering your digestive system!

For those who can’t eat dairy products and may be vegetarians, olive oil also makes for a wonderful fat substitute.

1 teaspoon of butter equates to 3/4 teaspoon of olive oil and will create a pastry that has a similar texture, but a slightly fragrant inside that has a light olive flavor that goes wonderfully with any meal.

Be careful if you choose olive oil! Unfortunately, the most popular olive oil stocked in American markets is Extra Virgin Olive Oil…and it’s not really olive oil, so the pastry will fail to rise properly.

Not only will you have de-fluffed pastries, but olive oil is much more likely to burn and smoke, turning your kitchen into a less groovy replica of your college roommate’s car. Bummer dude. Vegetable oil will work though!

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