They are big, they are ugly, and they are light and delicious!
Yorkshire puddings are one of those things that people tend to struggle with. They either don’t rise, or they collapse, or they’re greasy and chewy, or all three. It doesn’t need to be that way, you just need three things: a good batter recipe; well-developed gluten, and heat.
The key is time. If you are going to be cooking a roast dinner at, say, 5pm, then make your Yorkshire pudding batter at lunchtime. If you give your batter a good long beating and then plenty of time to sit, then the gluten in the flour will develop, giving the puddings lots of strength. You also need plenty of heat; heat when you add the batter to the tin, and lots of heat in the oven. The batter will spring up, and as the heat hardens the mixture the strong gluten will enable them to hold up and they won’t collapse. There is no need to use self-raising flour, or any raising agent at all. If you get plenty of air into the batter then that will do the trick.
The result will be great big puddings that literally leap out of the tin. They will have lots of air in them so they will be light, and not at all stodgy. Try it, you’ll never look back!
RECIPE makes 12
115g plain flour, sifted
a pinch of fine sea salt
2 large eggs
140ml whole milk
Several hours before cooking (or the night before, just leave the batter in the fridge) sift the flour into a mixing bowl with a pinch of fine sea salt. Lightly beat the eggs together, and start to whisk the flour and salt gently before you add anything else.
While whisking, gradually add the eggs, with a little of the milk, to make a smooth paste. When all the eggs have been incorporated, gradually add the rest of the milk, increasing the whisking speed. Obviously this is much easier if you are using a stand mixer. When everything has been added then whisk the mixture at high speed for three minutes or so, this will get air into the mixture and also work the gluten in the flour. Now just leave the batter to stand, and go and do something else with the rest of your day.
When the time comes to cook, get your oven up to 220C/ 200C fan/ gas 7. This might not be possible, or advisable if you are cooking something else in there at the same time, but get it as hot as you dare. In a 12 hole metal muffin tray, pour a little vegetable oil into each hole and put it into the oven for a few minutes to get hot.
Go back to your batter and give it a final whisk for a minute or so, to wake it up and ensure that everything is evenly distributed.
Take the muffin tray out of the oven and put it on the stovetop, with a burner underneath it on a high heat. This will keep the oil very hot while you work.
Now, quickly – but carefully – ladle the batter into the muffin holes, filling each approximately half-full.
Quickly again, put the muffin tin back in the oven, close the door and DO NOT OPEN IT FOR 20 MINUTES.
After twenty minutes, you will be greeted with the best Yorkshire puddings you have ever eaten. I promise.