Friday, 29 July 2011

Yorkshire puddings at the ready

Here in Yorkshire, God’s own country, we celebrate Yorkshire Day on 1st August. The origins of Yorkshire Day allegedly go back to the Battle of Minden during the 7 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.
Yorkshire folk are proud to celebrate what’s good about our county and give a boost to all those Yorkshire folk who have to live in exile elsewhere. So we celebrate by eating the world famous Yorkshire Pudding. 
Hannah Glasse
There are lots of stories about the origins of Yorkshire Puddings too.  There’s even a story about an angel giving the recipe to a kindly woman. 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’. The most common explanation is that families used it as a filler to feed children when they couldn’t afford meat. Nowadays, Yorkshire Pudding is 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 10 tips for perfect Yorkshire puddings :
  1. Get the fat (or oil) sizzling
  2. Get the oven really hot
  3. Use Plain not Self raising flour
  4. Sift the flour
  5. Use a wooden spoon to mix
  6. The batter should be fairly runny like cream
  7. Best leave the batter to rest for half an hour before using
  8. Don’t fill the YP tin more than one third
  9. Don’t open the oven door during cooking
  10. 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.

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