For the people of Great Britain, Yorkshire pudding has long been a dish to be proud of. This simple, crispy puffed bread requires only four ingredients that are found in most kitchens.
Making Yorkshire pudding is one way you can connect to your English heritage. If you have other recipes from your ancestors, share them on FamilySearch Memories to preserve them for your descendants.
What Is British Pudding?
“Pudding” can mean various things in the English language,depending on where you live.
If you live in North America, your definition of “pudding”is probably fairly simple. Pudding is a sweet, creamy dessert similar to custard. In the United Kingdom, however, “pudding” can mean several things.
Typically, pudding simply means “dessert”; however, pudding can also refer to both sweet dishes and salty dishes. These dishes are typically made with flour and have a cakelike consistency. Steak and kidney pudding, suet pudding, and Yorkshire pudding are all examples of this kind of pudding. Other types of pudding, such as black pudding and haggis, are savory meat dishes made in a similar way as sausages.
History of Yorkshire Pudding
Yorkshire pudding dates back at least to the 1700s, when it was described as “Dripping Pudding” in The Whole Duty of a Woman. Cooks in the 18th century roasted meat on a spit over the flames in the kitchen fireplace, where it dripped as it cooked. The puddings were carefully placed beneath to catch and be flavored by those drippings.
That book on womanly duties wasn’t nearly as widely read as The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, by Hannah Glass in 1747. Modern-day cooks can follow the simple Yorkshire pudding recipe Hannah left for their great-great-great-grandmothers. However, the narrative may be puzzling to 21st-century cooks:
“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. . . . Set your stew-pan [on a downturned pan] 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.”
Lest the puddings become too greasy, Hannah cautioned the cook to drain the fat from the pudding, set it on the fire again to dry a little, and then add melted butter to the middle, to form “an exceeding good pudding; the gravy of the meat eats well with it.”
Today’s enthusiasts might not relate to the dish as described by Hannah Glass. The pudding in its various iterations gradually moved from beneath the spit into the roasting pan and, by the 21st century, into cake pans, muffin pans, or pudding tins. A host of Yorkshire pudding variations are relished by diners in restaurants across Great Britain, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Today’s dish typically doesn’t usually include the grease bath recommended by Hannah Glass, but it may still be flavored with beef drippings.
The wonder of this light, puffy bread is that the recipe includes the ingredients that also form the basis of such flat forms as French crepes—nearly equal parts flour, eggs, and milk, with a bit of salt. The secret is to whisk the liquids until they are light and foamy and then to bake the bread in a preheated tin pan in a hot oven. The heat will cause the bread to puff up high and set quickly and then turn a golden brown.
This modern, simple Yorkshire pudding recipe is adapted from the New York Times.
Modern-Day Simple Yorkshire Pudding Recipe
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup melted butter (Rendered beef or pork fat can be substituted for butter for a more traditional flavor.)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together eggs and milk until they are foamy, and then mix with flour and salt. Do not overmix. Allow the batter to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Add about a teaspoon of fat to each cup of a muffin tin. Place the tin in the oven to heat for five to seven minutes.
- Fill each cup of the muffin tin to about half full, and return the tin to the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the puddings are crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately, drizzled with remaining melted butter as desired.
- Recipe yields 12