Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them: Yorkshire Puddings

Hello Fenrir here with a new (and overdue) entry to the good old Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them series! Today is Sunday which is a good day for the famous Sunday roast, a hearty combination of roasted meat accompanied by side-dishes such as mashed potatoes and of course, Yorkshire puddings.

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A bread-like, puffy thing in a bowl? Yeah that’s a Yorkshire pudding

So what are these things anyway, why did I even bother to make them, and better yet, how do they taste like? Read on, readers, to find out; because I bet I’m not the only one who’s ever wondered about the fuss over these “pudding” things before!

If you’ve ever read British literature you might have stumbled upon the humble pudding. Harry Potter for instance liberally refers to this stuff–as to a wide variety of other British dishes that might have us Americans imagining different things. As a child, I thought they were talking about something sweet that accompanied the meal; although let’s be honest, there’s a lot of miss-interpretation when it comes to the names of some otherwise common British faire. Toad in the hole, bangers and mash, elderberry fool — you get where this is going.

The Yorkshire pudding, though, has a firm place in my memory as a foodstuff I’ve stumbled upon countless times and in several different manifestations — so while I salivated over this imagined ideal pudding, when I finally found out it was something like a popover I was a bit disappointed. It might not have been the sweet side dish I assumed it was–it still caught my fancy.

There’s something charming about it, you know. from their puffed golden tops to the history behind the dish: a thin pancake batter that makes use of meat drippings and a little flour and milk and egg to help stretch a meal. Serve this carb-heavy side-dish with a spoonful of gravy before the main meat course and no one will notice if you skimp on the protein — it’s genius. And kind of really tasty too, with its humble origins cementing itself as a staple in British cuisine and in its literature.

Or well, if you don’t believe me, you can watch Gordon Ramsay, celebrity chef and latest Internet meme, try to teach someone how to cook it.

And now that we’ve established that Yorkshire pudding is a legit Thing, I now get to talk about how to make these things for yourself! Whether they actually live up to your expectation if they caught your fancy in literature is well, all up to you.

The Cast of Characters

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While there is a normal pan pictured here, we had a scheduling issue and a conflict with its agent and had to switch it around with a muffin tin

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 eggs beaten

A little oil or shortening

1 pan, or muffin tin if you want to make cute individual sized servings

Optional: 2 tablespoons meat drippings; I made these with olive oil only and they were JUST as delicious

1. Okay, pour out your flour and salt into a mixing bowl, and make a well. Then pour in the milk, the butter, and the beaten eggs. Stir to combine so that there are no lumps. Then let rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Goopy non-mixed ingredients -- but seriously this is all you need to make something incredibly easy and delicious

Goopy non-mixed ingredients — but this is all you need to make something incredibly easy and delicious

… And that’s it. Really. No I’m serious; I thought this was going to be super complicated but you’re now well on your way to making perfect Yorkshire puddings.

You can use this hour to fidget, maybe make a pot of gravy if you’re feeling ambitious, or you can like, finally catch up on that swimming anime everyone’s been happy upset talking about or go pop open a Harry Potter book and skip over to scenes in the Great Hall. You know, to get the tastebuds rolling.

You can also weep over the fact that you’re not at San Diego Comic Con — but that’s a monster for another day. At this point, your pudding batter should be done resting, yay!

2. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Yep. We’re going to be cooking on very high heat for only 10 minutes, so get that oven smoking. At this point, you should fill up your pan, or muffin tin with a little bit of oil/whatever kind of fat you want to use, then plop it into the oven as it heats up. We DO want this fat smoking hot before we pop the batter in, it will help it puff up beautifully.

3. Once your oven is done preheating, take the pan out and carefully pour in your batter into the mold(s). Sizzling is a GOOD sign, my friends. If you’ve got a muffin tin, fill only to about 1/3 full before you move onto the next well!

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4. Then pop it back into the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. During this time your puddings may suddenly rise to almost frightening puffy proportions — that’s good! After the first 10 minutes, knock it down to 350 degrees and then let it cook for 15 to 20 more minutes.

And then you’re ready to serve fresh out of the oven, another yay!

As I was quite ambitious I DID make gravy and I went ahead to douse this one with all that brown gravy goodness.

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This may fulfill some childhood dreams if you’ve a.) read a lot of Brit lit, b.) never actually tasted British food

So what does it taste like? WELL, in my expert opinion,it tastes a bit like a quick-bread, covered in gravy it’s quite savory and delicious — and also quite filling. I see what they mean now about serving the pudding first to compensate for any lack of meat; it might be light and puffy but a good soak in gravy makes it a bit more substantial.

And while I do wonder why people balk at British food – the novelty of it still hasn’t worn off. =) It was quite delicious, not necessarily matching my childhood expectations (Sorry kids, Yorkshire puddings are not sweet)  but was a fun thing to learn to make and experience nonetheless. I do wonder, though, how healthy those Hogwarts kids are if they’re subsisting on dishes like these puddings with plenty of meat and potatoes on the side, haha.

Anyway — that’s all for this very-long-overdue edition of Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them — tune in for another attempt at debunking or creating some of our favorite “fantasy” food!

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Fenrir

A would-be anthropologist, writer, food historian, and professional glutton hoping to combine fandom with her love of food. Ever wondered what a nug tasted like? Is butterbeer alcoholic? If you've asked such questions and are already drooling at the thought of a big old plate of lembas bread, then you're in the right place

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Fenrir

A would-be anthropologist, writer, food historian, and professional glutton hoping to combine fandom with her love of food. Ever wondered what a nug tasted like? Is butterbeer alcoholic? If you've asked such questions and are already drooling at the thought of a big old plate of lembas bread, then you're in the right place

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