Friday, 29 July 2011

Yorkshire puddings at the ready

Here in Yorkshire, God’s own country, we're gearing up to celebrate Yorkshire Day on 1st August. The origins of Yorkshire Day allegedly go back to the Battle of Minden during the seven years' war in Prussia where the English defeated the French army on 1st August 1759. It was said that the heroism of Yorkshiremen from the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry won the day. But it’s also the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves which was put into law in Parliament on this date in 1834, largely thanks to the efforts of Yorkshire M.P. William Wilberforce. A more recent revival of the day came in 1975 from the Yorkshire Ridings Society.

We Yorkshire folk like to claim our sense of identity, be proud and celebrate what’s good about our county and give a boost to all those Yorkshire folk who have to live in exile away from this wonderful land.

We celebrate by eating the world famous Yorkshire Pudding and there are lots of stories about its origins too.  In the middle ages, they were called ‘dripping puddings’ but the modern recipe is said to come from Hannah Glass, a famous cook in the 18th century, in her book ‘The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy’. There’s even a story about an angel giving the recipe to a kindly woman but the most common explanation is that families used it as a filler to feed children where they couldn’t afford meat. Nowadays, Yorkshire Pudding is not really a pudding but often served as a starter to a roast or an accompaniment to a roast beef.

Grandma Abson was an expert in making perfect Yorkshire Puddings. She usually served them with gravy made from the meat juices and Raspberry Vinegar.

Grandma Abson’s Yorkshire Pudding
5 tbsps plain flour (sieved and heaped)
2 eggs
Milk to mix
Fat or oil for cooking

“Mix the ingredients to the consistency of cream. Let it stand and stir occasionally. Lift a tablespoonful of the mixture to get air in. Heat the fat in Yorkshire Pudding tins in a very hot oven. Pour in enough mixture to cover each base. Cook in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes.”  (425F, Mark 7, 220C).
Grandma’s tips for perfect Yorkshire puddings :
Get the fat (or oil) sizzling
Get the oven really hot
Use Plain not Self raising flour
Sift the flour
Use a wooden spoon to mix
The batter should be fairly runny like cream
Best leave the batter to rest for half an hour before using
Don’t fill the YP tin more than one third
Don’t open the oven door during cooking
Serve straightaway - Grandma used to have us sitting at the table waiting!

Meryl says : I use about 4½oz/125g flour and ½ pint/275ml milk. I also find my fan oven stops my Yorkshire Puddings from rising, so I switch to a conventional heat setting to ensure they come out light and airy like Grandma’s.

Enjoy Yorkshire Day wherever you are. What are your tips for perfect Yorkshires?

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