In a recent poll, the humble Yorkshire Pudding was ranked 10th in a list of things most loved
about Britain. Ask any Brit about Yorkshire Pudding, and they will immediately drift off into a
dreamy world of Sunday dinners, roast beef, roaring fires and Grandma’s Yorkshire Pudding.
Just as Moms Apple Pie reminds our American friends of a simpler, happier, care-free time,
Grandma’s Yorkshire Pudding invokes similar feelings amongst us Brits. No-one, and I mean
NO-ONE, could make Yorkshire Puddings like MY nana.
But what on earth is a Yorkshire Pudding? Is it a custard? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It’s
a baked pudding. Made with eggs, flour, milk and just a pinch of salt. And that may sound
simple, but, when it’s done the right way, the earth moves. And angels sing.
The origins of the Yorkshire Pudding, or Dripping Pudding as it was originally called, can be
traced to cooks in northern England, who devised a means of making use of the fat that
dropped into the dripping pan to cook a batter pudding while the meat roasted. The pudding,
served with the meat gravy, was taken as a starter, and intended to fill you up, and was a
cheap way to fend off hunger.
One of the earliest recipes for the Dripping Pudding was in the 1737 book, The Whole Duty
Of A Woman. In those days, women didn’t have the Kardashians to show them how to
behave like a lady. Men very kindly wrote books for them. And in this book appeared the
‘Make a good batter as for pancakes; put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to
fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton, instead of a
dripping pan, keeping frequently shaking it by the handle and it will be light and savoury, and
fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it in a dish and serve it hot.’
Similar instructions were published during 1747 in the book The Art of Cookery Made Plain
and Easy by Hannah Glasse. She was the Gordon Ramsey of her day, maybe with less
colourful language, becoming a best seller, popular amongst domestic staff of households
(think Downton Abbey). Hannah Glasse was the first person to coin the phrase ‘Yorkshire
Pudding’. It is suggested that the pudding got the name 'Yorkshire' due to the region's
association with coal and the higher temperatures this produced which helped to make the
batter crispier. In later years, Hannah would visit olde eating establishments and swear at
Yorkshire Puddings should rise, and not be a flat pudding. In 2008, The Royal Society of
Chemistry suggested that ‘a Yorkshire Pudding isn’t a Yorkshire Pudding if it is less than 4
inches tall’. You’d have thought that The Royal Society of Chemistry would have better
things to do, but, if you’ve ever been let down by an inferior pudding, whether it have a
soggy bottom, or not big enough to touch the sides (of the oven), you know that it requires
the greatest minds to achieve perfection. If you are not a member of the Royal Society of
Chemistry, nor indeed an 18th Century bestselling cookbook author, but still want to impress
your dinner guests with the best Yorkshire Puddings, your kitchen nightmares are over. The
Queens Pantry, have in stock, Goldenfry Yorkshire Pudding mix, purchase here....