Science Of A Yorkshire Pudding

Many many people ask me about "yorkies", as a lad I always had them bathed in thick gravy before my Sunday dinner. As well having a couple with the dinner, my starter was baked in a loaf tin. Now I use them either in a loaf tin or a flan tin, and fill them with a thick lamb stew or hot pot.

But so many people have problems with them, even with packet mixes too. What about these problems many people have making them . . . why do they not rise? Why do they fall flat? Should they be crisp or soft? The latter for me is a totally personal issue, some like them soft, some crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.

When you lash them with a gravy does it make any real difference? But to answer the main problems people have with them, rising and falling flat. One must think and understand about why and how this happens to answer it. They rise mainly because of the egg content in the mixture . . . NEVER add baking powder!

For this rising to occur the mixture needs instant heat, this creates steam and they puff up and rise - so the oven, etc must all be pre-heated, a slow gentle heat or cold oven will not work. They will fall flat if they are removed from the oven too soon. If they do not slightly crispen on the outside the structure of the egg and flour mixture does not fully 'dextrinise' meaning its structure will not hold its own weight . . . think of building a sky scraper out of wood, eventually it will buckle and collapse under its own weight.

Cooking times will always vary, as everyone's oven is slightly different and because we tend to open and close the door to remove the meat, the potatoes, etc. So the 12 minutes I have given here is approximate only, one will need to judge and modify accordingly.

Yorkshire Pudding:
The secrets To get a good rise one must fill the mix with as much egg as possible using only a drizzle of milk. Unfortunately the recipe here then is not 'foolproof' in amounts, as I cannot guarantee the size of eggs that you use and they do differ in amount by as much as 20gm per egg, so it is best to adjust the flour rather than the egg.

The trick is to pack the mixture with eggs!

Use deep sided muffin trays and heat these trays up prior to use Put in a good measure of hot oil into each mould. If the oil is really hot, until it just starts to give of a slight haze but not quite smoking (approximately 180°C) the moment the batter is poured in, it will sizzle, begin to cook and rise at the sides immediately.

This gives that 'hollowed' centre look that can be filled and will hold the gravy Do not worry about the oil content too much: if you want perfect 'Yorkies' you have to live with it and most of it will still be there when they are cooked and can be poured away for re-use when you remove the final, cooked product

With experience one will be able to judge when they can be removed and not fall flat / deflate. If you notice that they are beginning to, pop them straight back in for a few more minutes, this allows the correct amount of hardening / crispening of the outer walls to develop and holds the shape and size

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About The Author, Spud Larkin
About the author: Spud Larkin is an up and coming food writer and critic, already renowned throughout the north-east of England for his honest and open reviews that come straight from the heart and more of his reviews at Only good food