Yorkshire Pudding is a cross between a dinner roll, popover, and souffle. It’s the classic English side dish at the traditional “Sunday roast,” as it’s the perfect gravy-absorbing companion. In the U.S., Yorkshire pudding is a hit at Christmastime, served with roasted beef or sometimes roasted chicken.
Note: The word “pudding” in the U.S. means dessert. However, a Yorkshire Pudding is a puffed pastry baked with meat drippings. It’s not airy and hard like a popover but more of a soft eggy side dish to the roast beef.
Named after the northern county in England, Yorkshire pudding was devised by cooks to make use of the fat that dropped into the dripping pan to cook a batter pudding while the meat roasted. The Yorkshire pudding was served as a first course alongside a thick gravy; the low-cost ingredients dulled the appetite so that diners would not eat as much of the more expensive meat in the next course.
Today, after the roast is finished, the beef drippings are added to the bottom of a large roasting pan or a large (12-cup) muffin tin. The heat of the oven (or fire) makes the pudding rise up and fat seeps in, so they puff up. The Royal Society of Chemistry of England says that “A Yorkshire pudding isn’t a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches tall.” That might be a “tall” challenge but the idea is certainly to rise until puffed and golden brown.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Begin by placing a sieve over a large and roomy mixing bowl, then sift the flour in.
- Make a hole in the center of the flour and slowly whisk the beaten eggs into the flour. Add salt and pepper.
- Gradually add the milk and water, whisking continuously. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula so that any lumps can be pushed down into the batter, then whisk again until all the liquid is mixed. Try to get the batter smooth and airy.
- (Optional Step: Cover and leave batter to rest for up to 1 hour. Just before cooking, whisk thoroughly again to break down any lumps and add some more air.)
- Pour a small amount of drippings (or oil) into your pan or muffing tin. The baking pan should have deep straight sides to help the pudding rise. Or, if you’re using a 12-cup muffin tin, brush the drippings into the bottom (about 1 teaspoon per muffin cup).
- Heat the pan and drippings in the oven until sizzling hot. It’s very important to heat up the pan before adding the batter for the pudding to rise.
- Carefully take out the warmed tin/s. Pour the batter into the pan/tin with the drippings and QUICKLY return to the oven (preferably a middle or high shelf).
- Bake 20 to 30 minutes until the puddings have risen and are golden brown. (DO NOT open the oven door in the first 10 to 15 minutes or those fluffy puddings will DROP and collapse! Use the oven light to keep an eye on them.)
- When done, the pudding will be puffy and golden brown.
- Serve the puddings at once with the roast and spoonfuls of hot gravy.