There are very few areas in which I feel on solid culinary ground. But the Yorkshire pudding, or anything involving Yorkshire pudding mix, is definitely one of them. It’s not a skill; it’s heritage. I might pronounce ‘bath’ the long-vowel way now (CURSE YOU, SOUTH-EAST), but under the skin I am still a Yorkshire woman. I know what parkin is; surely that should qualify me.
Anyway, toad-in-the-hole is one of the greats. Cheap and comforting, involving good quality sausages buried in a veritable mound of Yorkshire pudding. As we normally have milk, eggs and flour in the house, all we need to buy is sausages. I don’t usually measure out quantities when I make this, but today I was precise as you please. Here’s the recipe.
1. Preheat the oven to 220 C (about 430 F). Take out a large rectangular casserole dish, ceramic or pyrex, and grease it thoroughly. The best thing to use is lard, but if you’re squeamish about lard, you could use vegetable shortening or vegetable oil. Plop six to eight sausages in the bottom. Six is ample, eight is voluptuous. See how you feel.
2. Put the dish with the sausages in it in the oven for 20 mins. You could also, if you wanted, add chopped onion. If so, put the sausages in the oven first, then add the onion ten minutes later.
3. For the Yorkshire pudding mix, break three eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add 400 ml milk and water, in whatever ratio you want. I always thought that milk and water was the accepted recipe; now I think my parents might just have wanted to save on milk. I usually do half and half, but using all milk would be fine too.
4. Add 160 g plain (all-purpose) flour, a little at a time, whisking energetically. For English readers: do not use self-raising, unless you want flat Yorkshire pudding. And no one does, honest. Your mixture is done when you can lift the whisk, and the batter flows smoothly down into the bowl in a glub-glub-glub fashion, rather than dripping like water. Whisk in a circular motion, so you can put as much air into the mixture as possible. The more air, the higher the pudding goes.
5. Once the sausages have been in the oven for twenty minutes, take out the casserole dish, toss in the Yorkshire pudding mixture all over those babies, and put back in. Do this as quickly as possible. Once they’re in, RESIST the temptation to open the oven door. It is a fatal mistake.
6. Take it out after about 25 minutes, or when the Yorkshire pudding is mountainous and golden. Serve with vegetables (optional) and gravy (mandatory). Feeds four greedy people, or two for two days.