It seems appropriate to write about my dad’s Yorkshire puddings on what has been a decidedly pudding-centered week here. I’ve been madly craving tapioca pudding for about a month now but, for reasons too boring to list here, I haven’t managed to a) buy the necessary tapioca or b) make the damn pudding yet. To put an end to my I want pudding whining, John made a batch of this rice pudding on Tuesday night. Up until this point, I haven’t been sure I like rice pudding all that much. In the past it’s always struck me as something that, with a little less sugar, I’d happily eat under a nice piece of fish instead of for dessert. Still yearning for my tapioca, I watched warily as John par-boiled the rice (weird, right?), glugged in some milk, and added a vanilla bean along with what Luisa Weiss aptly calls the “dark horse” here: a single bay leaf. Stewed together slowly, the results sent my skepticism scurrying and left me to enjoy two heaping bowls of the best rice pudding I’ve ever eaten. Even the bay leaf won me over – its flavor is subtle, something exotic but hard to pinpoint if you don’t know what you’re eating. Embarrassing as it is to admit, we polished off Tuesday’s batch, made another Wednesday, finished that one for breakfast on Thursday, and made yet another round Thursday night. It’s that good. Creamy, comforting, and exactly what you need to get through the dregs of winter.
But, this post is about another pudding entirely: my dad’s famous Yorkshire pudding. Yorkshire puddings are a kind of puffy, golden savory pancake which originated in, you guessed it, Yorkshire England. I’ve eaten Yorkshire puddings here and there over the years, but none come even close to my dad’s. Just like the rice pudding above, there are some particularities here:
- Some people make Yorkshire pudding in big round or casserole dish. My dad, however, makes individual puddings baked in muffin tins. This assures everyone gets the perfect ratio of crispy golden outside to soft steamy inside.
- The eggs must be at room temperature to give the puddings sufficient lift. Similarly, the finished batter must be at room temperature before it’s baked.
- You want your pan burning, scorching, scalding hot before you bake the Yorkshires to get a perfect crackling crust.
If you’ve never had Yorkshire puddings before, you’re in for a treat. Close relatives of the popover or the Dutch baby, the puddings were a Sunday dinner stand-by growing up, served alongside roast beef as a delicious vessel with which to mop up copious amounts of homemade gravy. As a child, I remember carefully counting out the number of dinner guests to calculate how many pudding we were each allowed, and then acting as a kind of pudding-police officer during dinner to make sure everyone got their fair share.
This recipe makes 12 and serves 4 to 6 (your may need to employ a similar pudding-police officer at your table.) In the unlikely event you have leftovers, they are delicious warmed in the oven or toaster and topped with maple syrup or butter and sugar for breakfast the next morning.
For the Yorkshire Puddings
- 7/8 cup all purpose flour (1 cup minus 2 tbsp)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup warm water
- Canola oil for cooking
Make the batter: Combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until foamy. Fold the eggs into the flour mixture and then stir in the milk and water. Mix well until the batter is foamy with plenty of large visible bubbles. Cover and let sit at room temperature at least 2 hours before baking. My dad mixes the batter around 1:00PM and lets it sit out until he bakes the Yorkshires around 5:30PM. If you make the batter in the morning, my dad says you can refrigerate it and then pull it out 2-3 hours before you’re ready to cook the Yorkshires.
Cook the Puddings: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place about 1/3-1/2 tbsp canola oil in each of 12 muffin tins. Place the oil filled tin in the oven for 15-20 minutes until very (scorching) hot. Meanwhile, re-whip the batter until it is foamy with large bubble visible on the surface. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and divide the batter between the 12 tins – they will take a little more than a ¼ cup each.
Place the Yorkshire puddings in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes until puffed and very golden. Remove and serve immediately.