The perfect Yorkshire pudding
November 13, 2008 3:11 AM   Subscribe

The Royal Society of Chemistry has published their specifications and recipe for the perfect Yorkshire pudding. Unusually for this type of thing, it might not have anything to do with selling anything.
posted by chorltonmeateater (56 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
That's jolly good, old bean, but let's not forget that we'll need to wash that down with a nice cup of tea. And for that we need the publication of British Standards Institution, prepared under the direction of the Food and Agriculture Standards Committee, "Method for Preparation of a liquor of tea for use in sensory tests." Or, alternatively, the advice of that Orwell chap. Carry on!
posted by Dasein at 3:37 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Some amateurs even place the batter in the fridge first. What kind of foolish act is that?"
This is absolute madness! Who does this?
This is the MOST IMPORTANT advice:
Put beef dripping into Yorkshire pudding tins or into one large tin but don't use too much fat.
Put into hot oven until the fat starts to smoke.

posted by tellurian at 3:49 AM on November 13, 2008


"Put into hot oven until the fat starts to smoke."

"Hot"? That's not very scientific. I need to know the exact temperature. In Kelvin.
posted by bokeh at 3:53 AM on November 13, 2008


This is absolute madness! Who does this?
Now I think about it:
Bachelors
Newlyweds
People who didn't hang out with their grandmother
posted by tellurian at 3:55 AM on November 13, 2008


This is absolute madness! Who does this?

This is what I was taught as a lad. Then again, I was taught by my mum, a Southerner.
posted by ninebelow at 3:56 AM on November 13, 2008


Toad-in-the-hole co-incidence:

Tim Hayward had an article about the perfect sausage just on Monday. Although he does have some funny ideas about poaching them in oil.
posted by ninebelow at 3:59 AM on November 13, 2008


bokeh, are you a bachelor? Oven temperatures.
posted by tellurian at 4:01 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, suddenly the line "If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding" from Another Brick in the Wall makes so much more sense. I always wondered why the horribly treated children got to eat tasty chocolate pudding. I was like "hey, at least they get pudding." Bill Cosby would not approve of this kind of pudding.
posted by diogenes at 4:04 AM on November 13, 2008


Tellurian, no - I'm a keen baker and family man. I was being facetious.

But...based on the link you gave, "hot" means somewhere between 400 and 450 fahrenheit. Not an especially accurate specification, especially when coming from a venerable scientific institution.

As a general rule of thumb, if it's not good enough for engineering spacecraft components, then it's not good enough for Yorkshire pudding.
posted by bokeh at 4:14 AM on November 13, 2008


OMG! Toad-in-the-hole. I haven't had that for decades. My early cooking education came from my aunty who was (at the time) the village school cook. Toad-in-the-hole was the most popular dish whenever she made it. Many seconds were asked for (and given) and there were never any leftovers. If it happened to coincide with her bread-and-butter-pudding afters, well, the scraping bins would be empty.
posted by tellurian at 4:20 AM on November 13, 2008


There is, in fact, no such thing as a "perfect Yorkshire pudding".
They are vile creations. Vile, I tell you!
posted by madajb at 4:20 AM on November 13, 2008


@diogenes - no, it probably wasn't Yorkshire pudding, but then it wasn't necessarily chocolate pudding either (or any other dessert with "pudding" in its name) - In British English, "pudding" is often used as a synonym for "dessert" by synecdoche.

I would hazard a guess that the "pudding" in question in the lyric was some kind of steamed pudding, like Spotted Dick (insert STD joke here).
posted by kcds at 4:28 AM on November 13, 2008


"Hot"? That's not very scientific. I need to know the exact temperature. In Kelvin.

Might wanna get Kelvin's consent there.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 4:39 AM on November 13, 2008


As a general rule of thumb, if it's not good enough for engineering spacecraft components, then it's not good enough for Yorkshire pudding.
Heh! I'm with you there. Still, after many failed and dismal, soggy Yorkshire puds I can now turn out a decent tray and a lot of it is to do with the 'vibe'. I just know when the batter is right, the oven hot enough. There are many variables to take into consideration - in your batter making (grade of flour used, resting time, ambient temperature) and oven characteristics (slow, fan force, dutch). I'm a renter and it always takes me several weeks to get used to new environments and ovens (especially) when I move. Being able to produce a decent Yorkshire Pudding (cakes and breads are others) is one of my measures of a successful transition.
posted by tellurian at 4:49 AM on November 13, 2008


They forgot to mention the magic ingredient as taught my nan - plenty of 'elbow grease' when making the batter

no, it probably wasn't Yorkshire pudding,

In traditional school dinners often the only edible part was the pudding - jam roly-poly, treacle tart, spotted dick etc, usually with custard

Though you can combine the two to get an old favorite - apple batter
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:01 AM on November 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yorkshire housewives served Yorkshire pudding before the meal so that they would eat less of the more expensive main course.

And herein is the greatest diet secret of all time: fat. It takes your hunger away. Feeling hungry? Eat a little fat - you'll no longer be hungry. But just a little. Yorkshire housewives knew the secret, but used it for more economical reasons.
posted by stbalbach at 5:35 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


"If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding" from Another Brick in the Wall makes so much more sense.

In the case of Yorkshire pudding it is more like "If you don't eat yer puddin, you can't have any meat." Yorkshire pudding was meant to fill you up so you wouldn't eat so much meat, thus ensuring leftovers for another meal.

My mouth is watering right now. There was a time when I made Yorkshire pudding weekly. If I didn't have a roast, sizzling hot crisco shortening would do nicely. A crisp brown exterior, a nice moist interior. Perfect as a platform for creamed vegetables or chicken. Alas. The waist grows thicker and one marries a man who doesn't care for it and before you know it-- it has been years since one feasted on Yorkshire Pudding.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:47 AM on November 13, 2008


Always serve as a separate course before the main meal and use the best gravy made from the juices of the roast joint.

So would this be as well as the Yorkshire that you serve as an accompanyment to your Roast Beef? Because you can never have enough of the stuff, IMO.

I'm somewhat suspicious of the idea of a 4 inch Yorkshire though. This sounds to me like one of those shitty hotel restaurant Yorkshire Puds (I once had one at the House of Lords dining room as I recall) that might be 4 inches high, but 3.5 of those inches are just an enormous air bubble.

The recipe looks fundamentally sound though. I think people do put batter in the fridge to rest, but never in our house because we're always making it at the very last minute anyway.

I could use a really good recipe for the accompanying gravy though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:49 AM on November 13, 2008


Also:

My mouth is watering right now.

Eponysterical.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:50 AM on November 13, 2008


I make great puddings and toad in the hole is on the table here a lot. When I was a kid I never got enough Yorkshire pudding even though mom would make two large ones for a family of four. Now I can have a whole yorkie to myself whenever I want and that is possibly the single best thing about being grown up.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:54 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just love Yorkshire Pudding so much. So much. It is maybe the best food ever.

(accusingly eyes his lunch kit consisting of tuna, green salad, and fat-free rice cakes)

Bollocks.
posted by joelhunt at 6:00 AM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Where do people stand on the issue of using a giant Yorkshire as a plate and putting the meat and gravy inside it?
posted by ninebelow at 6:01 AM on November 13, 2008


So would this be as well as the Yorkshire that you serve as an accompanyment to your Roast Beef? Because you can never have enough of the stuff, IMO.

No, instead of. With your main course is forbidden.

Sunday dinners when I wor a lad:

1st: Puds with onion gravy. Crispy edges but an almost soggy bottom (forgive the mental imagery), which means a large roasting tray rather than those silly little individual things.

Main: Beef, roast spuds, etc. Onion gravy again.

Pudding: Same as 1st. Replace onion gravy with jam.

I haven't made a pudding for years. I may have to fix that this weekend.
posted by vbfg at 6:07 AM on November 13, 2008


Yorkshire pudding must be four inches tall, chemists rule

Damn the Royal Society of Chemistry! I've been making Yorkshire pudding at 3 1/2 inches for years.

I had no idea my pudding was unscientific.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:08 AM on November 13, 2008


Oh joelhunt! You sad bastard.
posted by tellurian at 6:13 AM on November 13, 2008


Where do people stand on the issue of using a giant Yorkshire as a plate and putting the meat and gravy inside it?

Surely it would go too soggy too quickly. Plus, I've rarely known such large Yorkshires to be as good as the little ones, possibly because these are what the ready-made ones that just need heating up are usually like.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 6:17 AM on November 13, 2008


I should add, if you ever get the chance, what you need for breakfast on a Sunday morning for breakfast is a giant Yorkshire pudding with a full English in it. How I miss the Cafe Italia and its slightly insane owner.
posted by vbfg at 6:19 AM on November 13, 2008


Where do people stand on the issue of using a giant Yorkshire as a plate and putting the meat and gravy inside it?

This is approved, but then I like the contrast between crispy batter, and the bits which have gone soggy under the weight of all the gravy.

I wouldn't use it as a plate unless I had a really clean table.
posted by penguinliz at 6:20 AM on November 13, 2008


1 1/2 tablespoons of flour, with one egg and an indeterminate amount of milk solution? Is this from the same people who brought us this?

I stand by my proper recipe, as taught to me by my Anglophile Québecois dad, who barely spoke any English before he was posted abroad during the war, but came home to help build a household around Carry On, Coronation Street, and Yorkshire Pudding. Pudding should have some lift and crisp to it, obviously, but push it too far and you're biting into fat-scented air. A base of succulent yellow pudding, surrounded by crisp, buttery-or-drippingsy crust and a bit of air, is what makes a pudding. Yorkshire Pudding is the king of carbs. Treat it with some respect already.

Those wee, puffy things so many people think are pudding? Those aren't pudding. I say they're popovers, and I say the hell with them.
posted by maudlin at 6:26 AM on November 13, 2008


I stand by my proper recipe, as passed down through the family, which is: "Look: the batter should be like this."
posted by Wolfdog at 6:39 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


This can't be right, they missed one of the key steps: must be made by my mum.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:46 AM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ingredients:
Tablespoon and a half of plain flour
1 egg
Half milk, half water to make a thin batter
Half a teaspoon of salt.


Yeah, right ... 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour is going to make one massive Yorkshire!
posted by woodblock100 at 6:57 AM on November 13, 2008


Oh. My. God.

Partner is at big draining chemistry-tinged event all day today. Will come home tired and hungry. Yorkshire Puddings are the one thing I can make that he'll eat.


Meatfilter, just made me the best boyfriend ever.
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I once had one at the House of Lords dining room as I recall
Shameless bit of name-dropping there, Peter!
posted by Abiezer at 7:19 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the International Organization for Standardization:

ISO STANDARD 1303 (ORIGINAL: BS 6008:1980, CROSS REFERENCE BS 5987)
PRODUCED BY: ISO Technical Committee 34 (Food products), Sub-Committee 8 (Tea)

"Method for preparation of a liquor of tea for use in sensory tests"

ABSTRACT:

The method consists in extracting of soluble substances in dried tea leaf, containing in a porcelain or earthenware pot, by means of freshly boiling water, pouring of the liquor into a white porcelain or earthenware bowl, examination of the organoleptic properties of the infused leaf, and of the liquid with or without milk or both.

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:
  • The pot should be white porcelain or glazed earthenware and have a partly serrated edge. It should have a lid that fits loosely inside the pot.
  • If a large pot is used, it should hold a maximum of 310 ml (±8 ml) and must weigh 200g (±10g).
  • If a small pot is used, it should hold a minimum of 150 ml (±4 ml) and must weigh 118g (±10g).
  • 2 grams of tea (measured to ±2% accuracy) per 100ml boiling water is placed into the pot.
  • Freshly boiling water is poured into the pot to within 4-6mm of the brim.
  • The water should be similar to the drinking water where the tea will be consumed
  • Brewing time is six minutes.
  • The brewed tea is then poured into a white porcelain or glazed earthenware bowl.
  • If a large bowl is used, it must have a capacity of 380ml and weigh 200g (±20g)
  • If a small bowl is used, it must have a capacity of 200ml and weigh 105g (±20g)
  • If the test involves milk, then it can be added before or after pouring the infused tea.
  • Milk added after the pouring of tea is best tasted when the liquid is between 65 - 80°C.
  • 5ml of milk for the large bowl, or 2.5ml for the small bowl, is used.
DETAILED SCHEMATICS: BS6008 (.pdf, 11 pages)
posted by Rhaomi at 8:15 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Royal Academy of Science won't return my calls even since the incident, so I guess this is the place to ask: Can I replace the drippings with butter?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:40 AM on November 13, 2008


There's times when I seriously have trouble distinguishing between British news and British dry humor.

That said, thank you SO much for pointing me at these recipes; now I'm going to have to fix Toad in the Hole for dinner tonight, and get lectured by my wife about how it should be a "sometimes food". Thank you so very, bloody much.
posted by happyroach at 9:46 AM on November 13, 2008


Duh, Royal Academy of Science≠Royal Society of Chemistry. No wonder I couldn't get a ruling on drippings vs. butter.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:20 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thank you, all.

Being 'Murkan with only the slightest taint of English blood, I have always wondered how Yorkshire Pudding came into my family. But it did. And as a side dish to a roast meat meal. You know, we had a revolution to break away from all of those odious imperial rules.

We also made popovers, but they were two distinct animals. Popovers are great for breakfast with a little homemade jam. Crispy, airy with a a hint of puddingy goodness.

Yorkshire pudding is made large with crispy edges and tons of yellow, fatty puddingy goodness. I shall have to try the edumacated folks' recipe, but I doubt it can beat Mom's.

And fearfulsymmetry, apple batter sounds like an English equivalent to clafouti.
Thanks for that recipe. I may make it for the boys after we get done making some beer tonight.
posted by Seamus at 11:22 AM on November 13, 2008


apple batter sounds like an English equivalent to clafouti.

Yeah, pretty much I think... had it with rhubarb too (think it was one of those war/post-war cheap fill-belly recipes)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:23 PM on November 13, 2008


Oh man, I adore Yorkshire pudding, always thought it had heaps of butter in it. Must try this recipe. The recipe says beef drippings but I'd prefer to use butter. Does one just grease the pan with butter or put more into the pan?

mmm, maudlin, your recipe sounds scrumptious.
posted by nickyskye at 1:05 PM on November 13, 2008


There is, in fact, no such thing as a "perfect Yorkshire pudding".
They are vile creations. Vile, I tell you!


You are not welcome here, blasphemer.

I could use a really good recipe for the accompanying gravy though.

Well, I usually only make Yorkies (not as well as my Nan, but definitely better than my mum's halfbreed aerogel/hockeypucks) with roast beast, so that means beef gravy.

Make a darkish roux with the fat drippings from the beast and an equal amount of flour. Whisk in good beef stock until you reach the consistency you like.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:07 PM on November 13, 2008


Can I replace the drippings with butter?

Probably not. Drippings will take a much higher temperature than butter will.

You can put butter on them after they come out of the oven, though, piping hot and eaten secretly in the darkness because you had a sudden Yorkie craving at 2am not that I've ever done this no really I haven't.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:11 PM on November 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Drippings handle high heat better than butter, but if you heat the pan to dangerous levels first, then take it out, drop in the butter to melt instantly, then add the batter, you should be fine. Don't try pre-heating the pan with the butter in it because then it will burn.

nickyskye, my Dad's recipe is pretty resilient, and can be baked a little longer than my rather dogmatic post suggests. You really want to see the top crust go properly golden brown. The second last time I baked some (in a set of large muffin tins), I took it out too early and it was a little underdone. The next day, I made another batch with a little more patience and it turned out perfectly.

apple batter sounds like an English equivalent to clafouti

I'm doomed. I am completely doomed. (Please note that I favourited the recipe well before anyone made that comment.)
posted by maudlin at 2:45 PM on November 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Not many people know this, but those little dogs were actually named after the pudding, because they also are best served piping hot with butter.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:08 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heh, I like their blog's formulation better:

The Royal Society of Chemistry Yorkshire Pudding

Ingredients

85 g polysaccharide powder, kitchen grade (flour)
1 g sodium chloride, NaCl, table grade (salt)
1 egg
Solution of 230 cm3 reduced-lipid bovine lactate (milk), 20 cm3 H2O (water)
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:28 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


it might not have anything to do with selling anything

That's because they're British. If they were Americans, they'd be Sigma-Aldrich, with every ingredient having a price listed next to it. Although the actual American equivalent would be ACS?
posted by Xere at 7:10 PM on November 13, 2008


Apple Batter. Made it last night.
Good but missing something. No one complained.
I like that it isn't sickeningly sweet like most American desserts.

But what is it missing?
It was bland. The flavors were good, but not enough balance.

Changes:
I'm gonna up the amount of cinnamon next time (or actually use fresh grated cinnamon and not pre-ground cassia), perhaps double.
I'm gonna use a more crisp, tart apple. The gala was fine because it was what I had around. The texture held up well, but the flavor wasn't there.
The starch of the pudding and the starch of the apple need some brightness. I think lemon. Perhaps coating the apples before baking to avoid curdling the batter. Or perhaps some zest in the batter.
Next time I am going to use cast iron (used pyrex this time). I think preheating the cast iron in the oven before adding the butter and the apples will help the pan hold heat and maybe get a better rise and crisp at the edges. Maybe not, maybe the apples will suck too much heat from the pan, but I don't think so.

Either way, it was definitely something I will make again. Easy dessert from what's in the house. Almost zero prep time.

This is pretty far of the yorkshire pudding topic.
Oh well.
posted by Seamus at 8:45 AM on November 14, 2008


Seamus - looking at the recipe, there's no salt (presuming they are using unsalted butter), which might account for the blandness. I would try it with just a pinch.
posted by bokeh at 9:06 AM on November 14, 2008


...and thanks for being my experimenter-by-proxy!
posted by bokeh at 9:06 AM on November 14, 2008


Can I replace the drippings with butter?

After getting no response (Where were you, dnab?!?) I tried butter. Maybe it was the butter, maybe the oven hadn't preheated long enough, but either way I had a rather large and exceedingly bland pancake for lunch.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:14 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good call, bokeh.
I still might add some tang to it for brightness and balance.
posted by Seamus at 9:18 AM on November 14, 2008


This sounds a lot like a popover. Is it a popover? Alton Brown has a very specific popover recipe if this one isn't precise enough.
posted by estronaut at 10:34 AM on November 14, 2008


Alvy... *cough*.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:03 AM on November 14, 2008


dnab... *coughcough* ;D
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:12 AM on November 14, 2008


Tried the Yorkie recipe this morning.
It was pitiful.
It made a good breakfast because it was basically fluffy scrambled eggs/omelet.
I wouldn't repeat it.
I rarely trust scientists for culinary advice. Another data point in favor of that stance.
posted by Seamus at 7:38 AM on November 16, 2008


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