the pudding club….a lethal weapon in the wrong hands


That this is called a pudding is a mystery but that it should be called Yorkshire pudding is a mystery inside an enigma wrapped in batter. It’s sole relationship to that county seems to lie in its topography which is reminiscent of what I imagine to be the appearance of a Dale, many of which are to be found in that county. There is a look of the relief map to this pudding which makes me think that travelers in bygone times, on reaching the borders of the Dales, were offered a freshly made relief pudding of Yorkshire which had the added benefit of sustaining the hungry pilgrim on his journey. The vendor of the pudding map would be careful not to mention that none of his maps of Yorkshire were the same…each was a work of art in its own right which meant that at the vexing moment when our traveler, having concluded that not only was he was hopelessly lost but had also been royally shafted by a malicious Tyke, would be overcome by a burning desire to batter the balls of the mendacious map merchant but would, a moment later, realise that the very fabric of this fraudulent fabrication was now residing in his intestinal tract and that he was , in the vernacular, completely fucked. It will come as no surprise for you to hear that it was not long before gravy, rather than trust, was put into Yorkshire pudding and so it has remained.

For the Yorkshire puddings:
240gms of plain flour, salt
4 eggs
4-5 tablespoons of duck or goose fat….or dripping of some kind

Start the Yorkshire batter the night before. (It gives the starch cells time to thicken which will give you a lighter, smoother batter.)

Pour the beaten eggs, milk and salt into a medium-sized bowl, then add plain flour by the spoonful, whisking constantly so you create a smooth batter or mix all the ingredients in a food processor. Once all the ingredients are mixed, cover the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight. Muffin tins are often used to create individual puddings but I prefer to use a large metal roasting tin which accounts for the quantities in my ingredient list. Set the oven to 220C..once up to temperature put the roasting tin with the fat in the oven to get very hot as the fat must be nearly smoking hot for a good Yorkshire pudding.  Pour in the batter and get the tin back in the oven as quickly and as carefully as possible and leave to cook for about 10 minutes and then turn the heat down to 200C for a further 35-40 minutes.
Traditionally this is eaten with roast beef but I often cook this to be eaten with sausages and onion gravy or, more often, as part of a vegetarian dinner with roast vegetables.

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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36 Responses to the pudding club….a lethal weapon in the wrong hands

  1. Sue says:

    My late mother would have been very pleased to see you emphasise the need for truly hot fat…..

  2. Mad Dog says:

    I believe this was originally called Dripping Pudding, where the pan was underneath meat roasted on a spit with fat dripping into it.
    Sorry, I can’t resist – I do love the idea of this as an accompaniment to a vegetarian dinner …perhaps made with bacon fat 😉

  3. Yes, a fetching landscape and recipe!

  4. Nadia says:

    Would you believe that I have never eaten Yorkshire pudding? Not something my French mother ever made. However my hubby is from the Isle of Man, so I am going to make this for him. This might be a stupid question, but what is the difference between Yorkshire pudding and toad in the hole, besides the sausages, of course?

    • Good question…the sausages are the toads which are found embedded in holes in the Yorkshire pudding. In other words, the sausages are browned first in the hot fat in the roasting tin for about 15mins and then the batter is poured over them and the hot fat so that it rises up around the sausages….make a good onion gravy…Nigel Slater’s is the best:)

  5. jmcheney says:

    When we lived in South Florida, my English childhood penpal & her 13 yr old son came over from Constable Country to spend Christmas with us. In her honor we made standing crown roast of beef & Yorkshire pudding, & a boozy black fruitcake–though who knows, they might have wanted to try red snapper & conch chowder. It all turned out gloriously. She insisted the cake must be wrapped in marzipan & snowcapped with royal icing, which I had never heard of before. Her mother had even sent decorations for its top (so I’m glad I baked & began curing one one back in early November). The dinner tasted heavenly to me & I Loved the hilly (& daley) Yorkshire pudding I made with drippings & I cannot believe I’ve never ever made it again. It would be so wonderful with just vegetables. I’ve never made one of those expensive, elegant standing roasts again either, but that Christmas dinner remains indelible in memory. And—for sun-seekers from gloomy foreign shores, Palm Beach County went all out with a freaky & unique subtropical snowstorm.

  6. Conor Bofin says:

    I like a bit of history. This account coincides with my own rememberings. We have disputes here about whether to do the tray or the individual puddings. I am conflicted myself. Nostalgia says tray, as that is how my parents used to make their maps. However, I can fill an individual one full of beef gravy and dip my rare cooked meat in it before scoffing with a bit of salted potato.
    How I usually solve the conundrum is to cook both tray and muffin.

    • I must confess that I do still have the tray for individual puddings that belonged to my parents which still retains memories…my mother was not a particularly good cook so my memories of her food are few and far between. I don’t think that I became aware of food as anything other than fuel until I was in my mid twenties…it was then that I was taken under the wing of Terence and Caroline Conran and my food education began as if in a fairy tale…

  7. Sigh…there’s something very special about a perfect Yorkshire Pudding. Big Man is quite the convert and gets most indignant if he’s served a roast beef without!

  8. Ardys says:

    Very funny Roger. I’m so glad I got a chance to try ‘authentic’ Yorkshire pudding as made by a dour Scots woman in Australia, before I was no longer able to eat wheat! Yours looks wonderful.

  9. Eha says:

    I know it does not sound like me but I absolutely adore a well-made Yorkshire pudding: perhaps it has something to do with youth time dinners at Simpson’s, the ‘Ivy’, Savoy and other then London landmarks but I would fly home and try perfect the recipe and I did serve it with roast beef and the pudding dishes would be below the beef to catch the drippings – still do it that way 🙂 !! OK: I SO love them all puffed up from individual moulds! Have not made the batter the night before [thank you!] nor served it with other ‘British’ foods 🙂 !!!

    • Well you certainly tried some of the finest old English watering holes but I firmly believe that a classic Sunday lunch cannot be made in any restaurant kitchen…it has to be made at home. A restaurant kitchen is designed to mass produce food whereas Sunday lunch is like a drawing of your garden…it changes..timings are slightly different as are ingredients…I’ve NEVER eaten a roast potato that I would deem as perfect in any restaurant ever….:)

      • Eha says:

        Fully agree . . . . actually have partaken of quite a few country ‘Sunday lunches’ never to be forgotten, as much for the friendships as for food 🙂 ! But there was that ‘veddy’ British place almost opposite Hampton Court which could do pretty perfect potatoes . . . 🙂 ! And the ‘Connaught Grill’ could not be faulted . . . And somehow I did love the ‘Ivy’ . . . . their poached salmon converted me to the fish forever . . .

      • The Connaught might just make the cut. The problem is that in order to have an irregular crunchy surface of caramelised grains of potato the parboiled potatoes need to be drained and then shaken hard in the pan ( with the lid on) so that the potatoes crash against each other and the sides of the pan to create this granulated surface. Goose or duck fat then needs to be heated in the roasting pan into which the potatoes will cook….and then watchful care is needed throughout the cooking process. No restaurant can do this as their scale of operation is so much larger and always misses out the crucial shaking in the pan step. I firmly believe that restaurants cannot produce these tiny nuances of home cooking as homes cannot produce the finesse and complexity of large scale haute cuisine…and you know my feelings about that:)

    • Eha says:

      *big Friday morning smile* Not only do I agree but thank you for making sure I did it in the best possible style when next fondly spoiling some friends! [Delightful memories: the Connaught was our yearly ‘pub’ in London at a time it did not have TV sets nor a bar – it did have a ‘drawing room’ to the left of the main entry where one could have one’s G&T’s ere departing for evening ventures. Of course it was rather clubby as far as other guests were concerned: would never have had the chance to have one or three with Deborah Kerr and Peter Ustinov otherwise 🙂 ! Oh: true tale!!]

  10. Michelle says:

    Best kind of pudding of all.

  11. catterel says:

    Just for a few seconds, you took me as a 5-year-old back at my Granny’s house for Sunday dinner in Yorkshire – a glorious tray of pudding and gravy as the starter (it was referred to simply as “pudding” without the AOC) and that was all I ever wanted!

  12. Wonderful photograph and Happy Holidays….Yorkshire Pudding and all!

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