Happy Yorkshire Pudding Day! (3rd Feb 2019)
In the spirit of this most wonderful day, I wished to recreate a family sized Yorkshire pudding; not the individual type that we’re all so familiar with – How spiffing!
Therefore, I just so happened to find the ideal recipe in my 1903 edition of Mrs Beeton’s One Shilling Cookery Book, which originally belonged to my great great grandmother Georgina.
Oh, and by the way, Mrs Beeton’s recipe makes two puds, so you may scoff one with your Sunday dinner of roast beef and gravy, and freeze the other for a rainy day!
I say, now I expect you’re ‘chomping at the bit’ to whip-up an old-fashioned, fluffy, Yorkshire pudding – Mrs Beeton style, of course! If so, I must warn you my dears - it’s at your peril! You see, although one may follow the same recipe over and over again, the results may vary each time – very annoying, indeed! If this happens, don’t blame me, like I said it’s at your peril!
Now, I tell thee, Miss Windsor has tried her very best to perfect Mrs Beeton’s Yorkshire Pudding. Thankfully most of her attempts have turned out a culinary triumph, and others have been a sight for sore eyes, flat as a pancake comes to mind - Oh, dearie me!
Apparently, Yorkshire puddings are very temperamental – you dare say! And so, I discovered they thrive in the hottest oven possible; the beef dripping (or lard) must be roaring hot; also, it’s imperative that the batter is room temperature, oh and one must only bake in a metal vessel.
Darlings, as you may know, it’s an exact science, yet Mrs Beeton recommends six tablespoons of flour, which is not really an exact measurement! - so get one thing wrong and you may be heading for a culinary catastrophe!
Now moving swiftly on, to be frank, I’ve never been too fond of Yorkshire pudding, because quite simply my dears I found them rather ghastly, although funnily enough, I adore anything pancake-like and doughy.
However, one must express tremendous thanks to my darling culinary amour – Mrs Simkins – who just recently, and unbeknownst to her darling self, has managed to sway Miss Windsor’s delectable palate to give the jolly old Sunday roast garnish, roast beef to be precise, another bash! In fact, back in the day Yorkshire pudding was cooked under the meat, which was mainly mutton have you note, and believe it or not it was due to Yorkshire’s abundance of sheep – very similar to Wales!
You see, the frightfully talented Mrs Simkins published a splendid book called Traditional Yorkshire Cooking, and so plonked within the glossy pages of her new culinary delight, there I discovered her recipe for Mum’s Yorkshire Pudding! Oh, and I must say, Mrs Simkins photo makes those bundles of batter appear utterly irresistible! Therefore, Miss Windsor said to oneself, “If Mrs Simkins adores them, then so will I!” I say it’s all change in the Miss Windsor household!
And I must say, following my first attempt of Mrs Beeton’s recipe, it was obvious that she failed to mention two vital instructions. But do not fear my dears, thank goodness for the aid of Mrs Simkins new book, as it was plain to the eye that Yorkshire pudding requires the hottest oven possible. Also, the beef dripping must be scorching hot before the batter descends into the metal baking vessel. So, darlings, this clearly explains why my very first Yorkshire pud emerged from the oven looking rather like a bobbly soggy quiche – Yikes!
Now I must divulge since I was a child I found it difficult to fathom why one would indulge in these rather odd looking baked mini ‘frisbees’! - and heaven knows where the Yorkshire and the pudding come into it? Well, to solve such a mystery I consulted the jolly old internet for some much-needed counsel, and quite shockingly my dears, I was advised that the exact origins of the Yorkshire pudding are unknown - disappointed? so am I!
However, darlings, the first ever recorded Yorkshire pudding was in 1737, known back then as ‘A Dripping Pudding’, published in an intriguing cookery booked called The Whole Duty of a Woman – How fascinating!
Nowadays, as you know, Yorkshire pudding is baked in the oven and is served as an accompaniment to roast beef and gravy. However, I wish to share a titbit of information which I stumbled upon in my 1906 edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management:
‘Yorkshire pudding is always cooked in front of the fire; when baked in the oven, the term ‘batter pudding’ is applied to it by the people of the county whence it derives its name’ – and there you have it!
Now, if we roll back to the olden days, one would eat this world-famous batter dish on its own as a first course with gravy, thus filling one’s tummy in order to eat less of the expensive meat course. Yet sadly, for the main meal, poorer households would only eat Yorkshire pudding moistened with a sauce or gravy.
Darlings, if you wish to take the plunge and recreate Mrs Beeton’s Yorkshire Pudding recipe, then please bear in mind Mrs Simkins most welcome counsel, “Never, ever, even think of opening the door of the oven whilst the pudding is cooking!” – thank you, darling!
A little tip before you dash off to your kitchen, to add a touch of flair, why not sprinkle some sultanas over the batter before your pud enters the oven – voila!
Good luck, darlings - you're gonna need it!
Mrs Beeton’s Old-Fashioned
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