Yorkshire Pudding

The Yorkshire pudding is a staple of the British Sunday dinner and in some cases is eaten as a separate course prior to the main meat dish. This was the traditional method of eating the pudding and is still common in parts of Yorkshire today, having arisen in poorer times to provide a filling portion before the more expensive meat course. "Them 'at eats t'most pudding gets t'most meat" is the common saying. Because the rich gravy from the roast meat drippings was used up with the first course, the main meat and vegetable course was often served with a parsley or white sauce. Yorkshire pudding is cooked by pouring batter into a preheated greased baking tin containing very hot oil and baking at very high heat until it has risen. Traditionally, it is cooked in a large tin underneath a roasting joint of meat in order to catch the dripping fat and then cut appropriately. Yorkshire pudding may also be made in the same pan as the meat, after the meat has been cooked and moved to a serving platter, which also takes advantage of the meat's fat that is left behind. It is not uncommon to cook them in muffin tins as popovers, using 2+ tbs batter per muffin, with 1-2 tsp oil in each tin before preheating pan to very hot. Wrapped tightly, Yorkshire Puddings freeze and reconstitute very well. According to Food and Drink in Britain,"When wheat flour had come into common use for cakes and puddings, some economically minded cooks in the north of England devised a means of utilizing the fat that dropped into the dripping pan to cook a batter pudding while the meat roasted. In 1737 the recipe for 'A dripping pudding' was published in The Whole Duty of a Woman. 'Make a good batter as for pancakes; put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton, instead of a dripping pan, keeping frequently shaking it by the handle and it will be light and savoury, and fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it in a dish and serve it hot.' Similar instructions were reproduced by Hannah Glasse eight years later under the title of 'Yorkshire pudding'." Written in 1747, Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy represents one of the most important references for culinary practice in England and the American colonies during the latter half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th. It was the dominant reference for home cooks in much of the English-speaking world during its original publication run, and it is still available (in somewhat limited quantity) and used as a reference by those doing food research and historical reconstruction. As is the case in modern times for The Joy of Cooking, the book was updated significantly both during her life and after her death, before finally passing out of print in the mid 19th century. Hannah wrote mostly for domestic servants (the "lower sort", as she referred to them), writing in a conversational style familiar to anyone who has learned a recipe at the elbow of a parent or grandparent. The food is surprisingly recognizable, with staples such as Yorkshire pudding and gooseberry fool still known and eaten today, and there are even early traces of the Indian food that eventually became naturalized in the UK. She showed marked disapproval of French cooking styles and in general avoided French culinary terminology. Several facsimile editions are still in print, though primarily as a historical work rather than a modern cooking reference.
A Yorkshire Pudding Take a quart of milk, four eggs, and a little salt, make it up into a thick 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 firel when it boils, pour in your pudding; let it back on the fire till you think it is nigh enough, then turn a plate upside down in the dripping pan, that the drippings may not be blacked; set your stew-pan on it under your meat and let the dripping dorp on the pudding, and the heat of the fire come to it to make itself a fine brown. When your meat is done and sent to table, drain all the fat from your pudding, and set it on the fire again to dry a little; then slide it as dray as you can into a dish; melt some butter, and pour it into a cup and set it in the middle of the pudding. It is an excellent pudding; the grave of the meat eats well with it. From The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy, by Hannah Glasse, 1747
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Historical information from Wikipedia. Food and Drink in Britain: From the Stone Age to the 19th Century, C. Anne Wilson [Academy Chicago:Chicago] 1991 (p. 99-100) Video instructions courtesy of Videojug.com Enjoyed this article? Browse our giftshop at janeaustengiftshop.co.uk for Regency recipe books!

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