It’s been five years since Boring British Food project came to an end. It was a lot of fun to collaborate with my friend Katya who published more than a dozen books about the Victorian era. We discovered a remarkable number of dishes from the British Islands that became regular in my kitchen. The Yorkshire Pudding is one of them. Our version makes fast and easy dinner, and it is true to Yorkshire Pudding historical roots. Winter is an excellent time to enjoy it!
I remember it. Katya and I are going to my new kitchen under the dark and gloomy November skies. It’s perfect weather to cook something comforting. Katya is giving me a Yorkshire Pudding historical background. In my imagination, I picture a dim medieval kitchen with the only light coming from a huge open-hearth. A boy, a very young cook, is roasting a whole ram by slowly rotating a spit in front of the blazing fire. Under the spit, on top of the hot coals, there is a tray with batter. Flavorful meaty juices and sizzling fatty drippings go right there, on top of it. The batter heaves and turns into appetizing golden puffs. The boy’s mouth is watering. Mine too. This pudding is to be served at the beginning of the dinner to temper guests’ appetite before modest portions of more expensive meat appear on the table.
Despite the name, the same cooking method was used all over Britain. Though, the north and the south have always been arguing whose version is tastier — with or without the golden crust. Not all puddings were savory and served with the gravy. Some savory versions were served with mustard and vinegar, while dessert creations were accompanied by various sugar, jams, syrups, and molasses.
Make a good batter as for pancakes; put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton, instead of a dripping pan. Frequently shake it by the handle and it will be light and savory, and fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it into a dish and serve it hot.
Take a quart of milk, four eggs, and a little salt, make it up into a thick batter with flour, like a pancake batter. You must have a good piece of meat at the fire, take a stew-pan and put some dripping in, set it on the fire; when it boils, pour in your pudding; let it bake on the fire till you think it is nigh enough, then turn, a plate upside down in the dripping pan, that the dripping might not be blacked; set your stew-pan on it under your meat and let the dripping drop on the pudding, and the heat of the fire come to it, to make it of a fine brown. When your meat is done and sent to table, drain all the fat from your pudding, and set it on the fire again to dry a little; then slide it as dry, at you can into a dish, melt some butter, and pour it into a cup, and set it in the middle of the pudding. It is an excellent good pudding; the gravy of the meat eats well with it.