For as long as I can remember, I’ve had “issues” with Yorkshire Pudding. You wouldn’t think it, would you? I mean, so many people seem to have the ability to produce a risen, puffy, golden, appetisingly crisp Yorkshire Pudding without any difficulty at all. Up until recently, my Toad in the Hole has been reminiscent of a Toad in the Swamp and it was pointless even trying to create those lovely little crisp puddings that go so well with a roast dinner.
I wasn’t happy about this state of affairs. After all, I’m supposed to be fairly good at this cooking malarkey, yet the delights of Yorkshire Pudding remained way beyond my reach. It was a situation that nagged away in the back of my head. Not right up there with “can we afford to eat this week”, but it was there nonetheless.
Hence, when the New Year was upon us and folk were deciding upon their resolutions, I resolved to practice the art of Yorkshire Pudding making until that shiny day when I was able to rely on mine.
The first thing was to ensure I had the proper equipment. I decided to begin with the “accompaniment to a roast dinner” style of Yorkshire Pudding and would work up to the Toad in the Hole version.
So, I bought a new Yorkie tray. Non-stick, it sat there and quietly laughed at my heartfelt hopes that it would provide the perfect runway for individual Yorkies to take flight.
I bought some Lard, as there seemed to be three approaches to the fat involved – lard, vegetable oil or meat drippings. I resolved to try all three until one hit the spot.
I researched recipes, finally settling on Delia Smith’s tried and tested milk, flour, water, eggs, salt & pepper version.
For my first attempt, I went with the Lard recommendation. I put a teensy bit of the hard Lard into each tiny tin and popped it into the oven to heat up. The urge to take it out “before it burst into flames” might give you an idea of the anxiety with which I embarked upon this project. I restrained the urge and, having poured the batter into a jug to make decanting it easier, opened the door and began to pour (which was much easier than I had expected, so yay! for the jug method).
Then came the wait. I’m surprised I had any fingernails left by the end of cooking time. The cooker alarm sounded and I opened the door with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. There, incredibly, were twelve risen, crispy, wonderful little Yorkshire Puddings.
If I could have jumped up (I cook sitting down) and danced around the kitchen, I would have done. As it was, I just settled for a whoop of joy.
Never has anyone been prouder of twelve little semi-spherical crisply cooked batters. Even the family were astounded that I’d succeeded. They’d got far too used to the soggy and depressing examples I’d turned out previously.
Since then, I’ve tried the “meat drippings” version. I usually pot-roast a chicken instead of just plain old roasting them, which involves a half hour in the oven so as to get a good colour on the chicken skin. I always pour a little oil over the chicken, so following its removal to the pot-roasting pan, I used the drippings and chickeny oil for the Yorkshires.
If the first attempt rated some 8/10, these little beauties were 10/10.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my previous attempts have failed largely due to my being a complete wimp regarding temperature. I’ve quite simply not had the tin hot enough.
So, with my new-found bravery, do I dare to attempt a Toad in the Hole?