Everyone loves crisp puffy Yorkshire puddings with roast beef and gravy. Made from a batter of eggs, flour and milk they are quick, simple and cheap to make. You can bake Yorkshire pudding in one large tin, cutting it into portions to serve, or in individual bun tins or slightly larger Yorkshire pudding tins. This basic batter can also be used to make toad-in-the-hole baked in a large tin with sausages, and can be flavoured with chopped herbs such as sage or parsley.
Traditionally Yorkshire pudding was served with the gravy as a first course before the beef, it was a way of filling you up to make the meat go further, these days though we tend to serve it with the meat. For parties, mini Yorkshires make a tasty canapé with cold roast beef and a little creamed horseradish sauce.
Yorkshire pudding also makes a delicious dessert with golden syrup or maple syrup poured over, or baked with fruit such as peaches or cherries for American popovers and French clafouti.
The secrets to successful Yorkshire puddings are to use full-fat milk rather than skimmed or semi-skimmed and plain flour not self-raising. To avoid a lumpy batter, gradually mix half the milk into the flour and eggs, beat until smooth then add the remaining milk. Use a non-stick baking tin and preheat it in a hot oven with oil, dripping or lard so it’s piping hot when the batter is poured in and starts to cook instantly. Pop it back in the oven straightaway and avoid opening the oven door until golden, well risen and cooked.
Heat oven to 220C/425F/Gas mark 7. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs and half the milk.
Slowly mix, incorporating the flour as you go, until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk and look for tiny bubbles on the surface. Rest for 10 minutes in the fridge.
Divide the oil between a 12-hole bun tin and heat in the oven for for 5 minutes, until the oil is smoking hot. Mix mustard, black pepper and thyme into rested batter, then pour batter evenly into the bun tin.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden brown.
Toad in the hole
Place 500g sausages and 1 chopped onion in a baking tin and bake at 180C/350F/Fan160C/ Gas Mark 4 for 20 mins. Turn up the heat to 220C /425F/Fan200C/ Gas Mark 7. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for a further 25 mins until risen and golden brown. Serve with onion gravy.
Mix 2tsp wholegrain mustard into the batter. Place I mini chipolata sausage into each individual bun tin with a little oil, heat as in step 4, then add the batter and cook as in step 5.
Spiced Indian batter
Add 1 chopped red chilli and 2 tbsp chopped coriander to the batter. Bake and serve with curry, sausages or roast chicken.
Cook the batter in 24 mini muffin tins and cook for 10-12 mins until golden and crisp. Allow to cool. Mix 1–2tbsp creamed horseradish sauce into 300g full-fat soft cheese. Spoon a little into each cold Yorkshire and top with a little slice of rare roast beef. Top with a little chopped flat leaf parsley and serve.