When I was little, one of my favourite things to eat were bread rolls and Yorkshire puddings (I was a very picky eater). My British gran would make the most beautiful, giant, fluffy, cavernous and crispy Yorkshire puddings, perfect for filling with gravy, each and every time she made them. Of course, she made the recipe all by know-how, never with a recipe, stirring it all together with a flourish and a fork. My mom now carries the Yorkshire pudding torch in our family. Every time my mom makes them now, often when we're over for Sunday dinner, we all cheer when she pulls out the most magnificent Yorkshire's that Gran would have been very proud of.
Like many, I have made my fair share of Yorkshire pudding duds, puddings that don't quite puff right, that deflate as soon as they come out of the oven, are too eggy, not bowl-like enough in the middle and are without that crispy, crunchy exterior. But, I say, no more flubs, let's make them all studs! I've done my fair share of testing to ensure that we can all make Yorkshire puddings just like my Gran. The batter takes all of 5 minutes to whisk up and even faster if you pop all the ingredients in a blender. Just give your oil enough time to heat in the muffin tin and you're well on your way to being a British Yorkshire Pudding Master (aka just like my lovely, sweet Gran, Marjorie).
I've also added a simple recipe for a very quick and very essential onion gravy. No Yorkshire is complete without being filled to the brim with gravy, am I right? If you happen to have any leftovers, I always used to like spreading them with plenty of jam for dessert. Cam (hubby) likes to dip them in granulated sugar, sort of like a donut.
A few tips I've learned from watching my Gran make them growing up and from my mom who is now the Yorkshire pudding champion.
-> Your oil should be smoking hot. Literally, smoking. Make sure you heat it for at least 15 minutes and make sure you hear the sizzle when you pour the batter in. My mom says, make sure your vent fan is on and a window is cracked in your kitchen.
-> The batter should basically be as thick as whipping cream, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
-> Don't open the oven while baking, try to just peak through the oven door and get excited when you see them puffing. Don't be tempted to take them out early either, they've got to get nice and crispy so they won't deflate.
-> If you're really organized, chilling the batter overnight helps give the puds a solid rise. But, it's not necessary, you can bake them right after you whisk up the batter and they will still be excellent.
For a really excellent read on the science behind Yorkshire puddings, I really appreciate this deep recipe testing dive and article written by Kenji Lopez from Serious Eats. I never knew why my Gran added water to her batter, but he reveals why and it makes it all the more clearer, that my Gran was the Yorkshire Pudding Queen.
Yorkshire Pudding Batter
1 ½ cup (150g) all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
4 large eggs (200g)
1 cup (250g) milk
1 tbsp water
½ cup vegetable/olive oil, divided (2 tsp per muffin cup)
Simple Onion Gravy
2 tbsp oil (vegetable, olive, ghee)
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour / cornstarch
2 cups chicken/beef/vegetable stock
1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Place 2 tsp oil in each muffin cup.
2. Place flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Crack in eggs and whisk together, mixture will be thick. Gradually whisk in milk and water. Whisk until batter is smooth. Alternatively, you can place all items in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour batter into a large measuring jug with a spout for easy pouring.
3. Place prepared muffin tin in the oven. Heat oil until smoking hot, 15 minutes. Working quickly, remove muffin tin from oven and evenly divide batter between cups. Place back in the oven until puffed and golden, 25 minutes. Avoid opening the oven while baking, resist the urge to peak! Serve immediately (with plenty of gravy).
4. To make the gravy, heat oil over medium heat in a medium sized pot. Add sliced onion. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Add flour or cornstarch and whisk to combine. Gradually add beef stock, whisking to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and bubble until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
HALF-BATCH: Yes, you can make a half batch, simply divide the recipe in half and you can make 6 Yorkshire puddings instead of 12. But, you can also freeze leftovers, see below.
REHEATING: You can re-heat the Yorkshire puddings at 350F (180C) for 5 minutes.
FREEZE: Yes, you can freeze your leftovers in a zip-top bag! Simply bake at 350F (180C) from frozen for 5 minutes on a baking sheet.