Okay. Back to my Yorkshire Pudding experiment. Sorry for the delay.
Although, you didn’t miss too much, as I only did one other! Now,
as you may recall (or not!), I used an 18th century receipt (recipe)
for the previous pudding (from Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery).
I decided to jump ahead a few years, into the early 19th century,
for the second and selected the following from The Cook’s Oracle,
by William Kitchiner, M.D. (1831; first edition published 1817):
Yorkshire Pudding under Roast Meat,
the Gipsies’ way—(No. 529).
This pudding is an especially excellent
accompaniment to Sir-loin of Beef,—Loin
of Veal,—or any fat and juicy joint. Six
table-spoonsful of flour, three eggs,
a tea-spoonful of salt, and a pint
of milk—so as to make a middling
stiff batter, a little stiffer than you
would for pancakes; beat it up well,
and take care it is not lumpy; put
a dish under the meat, and let the
drippings drop into it till it is quite
hot and well greased; then pour in
the batter;—when the upper surface
is brown and set, turn it that both
sides may be brown alike; if you
wish it to cut firm, and the pudding
an inch thick, it will take two hours
at a good fire.
N.B. The true Yorkshire Pudding is about
half an inch thick when done; but it is
the fashion in London to make them
full twice that thickness.
TA-DA! Here it is:
This time, I followed the receipt as written (no halving of ingredients
or anything), as all the amounts were quite manageable. What was
interesting, however, is that this specifies “six table-spoonsful of flour,”
yet it also instructs the cook to make a “middling stiff batter,” and,
in fact, to make it:
a little stiffer than you
would for pancakes;
Really?! But with only six tablespoons of flour, that’s mighty difficult.
In fact, I’d say it’s nigh impossible! I used my reproduction pewter
“table spoon” to measure out the flour, and each spoonful was fairly
heaping. The resulting batter, however, was far from stiff, “middling”
or otherwise. I considered adding more flour, but I didn’t want to
deviate too much from the receipt. Besides, surely it was tested by
an assortment of 19th century cooks, yes? So maybe it was just my
mo-dern sensibilities of what constitutes “stiff”? Or…who knows?!
In any event, I just had to go with it and trust that it’d turn out
perfectly fine. And, lo and behold, it did! (see photo above)
Of course, as before, the cooking was done in my modern oven. No
telling how different things would’ve been if I’d been able to cook
either of my puddings as they would’ve been done centuries ago
(i.e. under roasting meat on a spit before a fire).
And then there are those three little words in the receipt’s title,
declaring this pudding is done per “the Gipsie’s way.” What does
that mean, exactly? What is the difference between how Gypsies
prepare it and how “regular” people do? How does that fit into
the equation? I have no idea, but I welcome any you may have!
However, it did seem a little egg-y. And a bit dense. It reminded
me of one of the quotes given with the Oxford English Dictionary’s
definition of Yorkshire Pudding:
[Hooton] Bilberry Thurland 1. vii. 140
At the bottom of all…lay
about half an acre of sad
and heavy Yorkshire pudding,
like a leaden pancake.
It was, indeed, rather heavy and “like a leaden pancake”! But then,
the receipt DID say to mix up the batter “stiffer than you would for
pancakes”! So…I guess…”leaden” it is! Despite all that, however, it
tasted fine. It was even good re-heated the following day. Overall,
I deem it a success. Two Yorkshire Pudding receipts, both the same,
yet both different! HUZZAH!