Yorkshire Pudding (Popover)
Yorkshire pudding batter contains very basic ingredients that I'm sure are already in your kitchen; eggs, milk, flour and oil (or fat drippings). The final product is greater than the sum of its parts, and there are few things more dramatic than a basket full of Yorkshire pudding.
Food has an incredible ability to evoke memories, and for me, Yorkshire pudding really takes me back in time to my childhood vacations in England. I stayed 2 years in a row at Tracy's house during Easter break in 1989 and 1990. It's been almost 20 years since the last time we met but we've kept in touch ever since. Tracy is an amazing cook, and I have fond memories of her delicious meals. A typical dinner would be roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, some greens and carrots and a wonderful banana mousse. Tracy, if you're reading, send my love to your lovely girls Emily and Alice!
Yields: 12 Yorkshire puddings4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3-1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons canola oil (or shortening)
12 cubes feta cheese ( or any other flavorings)
This step is optional. In a deep saucepan, melt the butter into 2 cups of milk over very low heat. Remove from the heat as soon as the butter is melted. Let the milk cool completely.
Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until the texture has thickened. The consistency must be very airy.
In another mixing bowl, add the flour. Form a well in the center of the bowl. Pour in the egg mixture and butter / milk liquid. Mix until the batter is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Do NOT over-mix. It's okay if there is a few lumps of flour.
Allow the Yorkshire batter to rest for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a popover pan in the oven while preparing the batter.
Thin the batter with the remaining milk (1 to 1-½ cups); the consistency of the batter is very similar to crepe batter.
Remove the pan from the oven and add about 1 teaspoon of oil (or shortening) to each mold. Generously brush the entire surface of the molds. Place the pan in the oven for another 2-3 minutes.
Open the oven again and, evenly pour batter into each mold; the level of batter in each mold should go ¾-way up the side of the molds. Place a cube of feta cheese in each mold.
Place the pan back in the oven at 450°F for 20 minutes; lower the temperature to 425°F and bake for another 10-12 minutes.
Serve immediately with gravy or whipped butter. You can also keep them warm in the oven at 170°F for about 15-20 minutes until your meal is ready to be served.
You can make a plain Yorkshire pudding or flavor the batter with herbs or cheese (blue cheese, tarragon, sun dried tomatoes).
During my trips to England, I've observed that some people slightly beat the eggs with a fork. I've found though that the final product is more fluffy when you use an electric mixer. Just ensure that you don't over-mix the batter when combining the flour and make sure to let the batter rest for at least an hour.
You might want to skip this step if you run out of time but my secret for perfect Yorkshire pudding batter is to melt the butter with the milk. Let the mix cool completely and then add the rest of the ingredients.
The key to a nice outer crust is to make sure the popover pan is extremely hot before pouring in the batter. A muffin pan also works if a special popover pan isn’t available. They just come out shaped a little differently.
I remember the authentic British way to make Yorkshire pudding is to prick the dough once you remove the puddings from the oven. Just prick on one side of the pudding using a skewer to release the steam and moisture. I personally don't do this because I think they're prettier when they're puffy.
The longer you let the batter rest, the better. It will still be good after 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Before placing the batter in the mold, remove it from the refrigerator 15 minutes before baking to bring it back to room temperature.
After the Yorkshire puddings are fully cooked, they should incredibly puff (about twice the original size) in volume.
If oiled properly, the Yorkshire puddings should easily pop out of the molds and have a nice golden outer crust.