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Archive for October, 2011

It’s not too difficult to locate a receipt (recipe) for Yorkshire
pudding in historic (1840s or earlier) British cookbooks. There
are even a few in early American works, as well. At the same
time, I was rather surprised that there weren’t more, and that,
in fact, many of the English books that I consulted (those in my
personal library) don’t have any at all. Is not “Yorkshire pud”
the quintessential British dish? Or, perhaps it IS, and thus no
one really needs a receipt, as every cook across the pond
instinctively knows how to whip up a proper pud!

Nevertheless, those numerous receipts that I did find are,
as usual, quite similar and yet, a bit different. The basic
ingredients tend to be the same, that is flour, milk, eggs,
and a bit o’ salt, as is the method of cooking, namely the
placement of the resulting batter in a pan under roasting
meat. The most noticeable difference is the varying amount
of those above ingredients. The eggs, for instance, ranged
from three to eight, and the flour varied from a mere “four
spoonfuls” to the rather ambiguous “[add] flour to [make]
a good batter.” It all certainly made for interesting reading!

Eventually, I began to wonder how the end result of any
of these receipts might stack up against the store-bought
mix that I recently made. Or even how they might compare
to the modern version I use for popovers. And of course,
the only way to determine all this would be to make a few.
And so I did!

After reviewing all the different receipts, I chose the two
that follow (and I may do more later; we’ll see!). The BIG
problem with this experiment, however, is that I can’t follow
the instructions exactly as they were written as I don’t have
a proper cooking hearth, and so I’m not able to roast meat.
dagnabit! Ahhh well, I’m not going to let that stop me! I just
did the best I could, mixed up the batters as directed, and
baked them in my modern oven.

So first up, I tried this receipt from The Art of Cookery Made
Plain and Easy
(London, 1747), by Hannah Glasse:

A Yorkshire Pudding.
Take a Quart of Milk, four Eggs, and a little
Salt, make it up into a thick Batter with Flour,
like a Pancake Batter. You must have a good
Piece of Meat at the Fire, take a Stew-pan
and put some Dripping in, set it on the Fire,
when it boils, pour in your Pudding, let it bake
on the Fire till you think it is nigh enough, then
turn a Plate upside-down in the Dripping-pan,
that the Dripping may not be blacked; set your
Stew-pan on it under your Meat, and let the
Dripping drop on the Pudding, and the Heat
of the Fire come to it, to make it of a fine brown.
When your Meat is done and set to Table, drain
all the Fat from your Pudding, and set it on the
Fire again to dry a little; then slide it as dry as
you can into a Dish, melt some Butter, and pour
into a Cup, and set in the Middle of the Pudding.
It is an exceeding good Pudding, the Gravy of
the Meat eats well with it.

TA-DA!

____________________

As you see, the bulk of this receipt deals with the cooking
portion (placing it under roasting meat), which I’m not able
to do, as I said. Thus, I concerned myself with the first part,
the mixing of the batter. Now, to make it more manageable,
I cut all the amounts of the ingredients in half. Of course,
the most “iffy” part was figuring out the amount of flour.
I worried about either using too much or not enough! After
a certain point, however, I figured I just had to use what
seemed best and be done with it. So I gradually added
roughly half a cup at a time, for a total of two. Baking
temperature and time made for another guessing game.
I relied on past experiences with popovers for the former,
setting it at 425. As for the latter, I basically left it in, well,
until it was done! (which was about 45 minutes or so)

Overall, again, I think it turned out well. The taste was
marvelous, much like the popovers I’ve made. The real
test on that score is that it was highly enjoyable a day
after (and beyond). As the photo shows, it “poufed” up
nicely, thus filling my cast iron skillet. I’d like to try it again,
only as individual puddings (aka popovers). I think that’d
be another, and perhaps better, way to judge these. We’ll
see. If I have time!

On now to receipt Number Two!

______________________________

NEXT: Part II of the Yorkshire Pudding historic receipt experiment

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While at my local grocery store recently, I made an interesting
discovery. On a shelf of the small bookcase that constitutes
the “British” section, I found a boxed mix for…Yorkshire
Pudding! It was even made in Yorkshire (says so right on
the box) and then shipped all the way here from jolly ol’
England. Imagine that! So, of course, I just had to buy it.
Then the other evening, I made it. Now, the directions say
to pour the mixed batter either into individual “patty tins”
or into one large “baking tin.” I decided on the latter and
used my cast iron skillet:

I think it came out beautifully, yes?! It was pretty exciting.
And it was delicious, as well. HUZZAH!

Now, while my store-bought Yorkshire pud mix-in-a-box was
baking, I began wondering about two things: Why is it called
Yorkshire pudding; and, Is it the same as a popover? I’ve
probably made literally hundreds of the latter through the
years (most were “from scratch” BTW). I’ve even eaten
quite a few of the former, as well, particularly on those
British-owned and operated cruise ships. For the most
part, though, I’ve always thought that there isn’t any
difference between the two, and in fact, that they’re
one and the same. But am I correct?

So I turned to that ol’ reliable resource, the Oxford English
Dictionary
(OED). In general, it says, Yorkshire is the name
of the largest county in northern England. Or, at least it was,
until 1974 when the area was split into the three separate
counties of North, West, and South Yorkshire, all as a result
of a local government re-organization. However, it also states
that the word Yorkshire:

is still used to loosely designate the region.

Old habits die hard, I guess!

The OED definition then continues with the following:

1b. Applied to things originating in or
cultivated especially in Yorkshire, as
Yorkshire ale, cabbage, cord…stone…
Yorkshire bond, cement…Yorkshire
pudding, a batter-pudding orig.
[sic]
baked under meat, now usu. [sic]
cooked and served as a separate
item to accompany roast beef;
hence Yorkshire pud colloq.
[sic];….
[emphasis mine]

Ahhh, now I know the origins of the words Yorkshire pudding.
But wait, I still don’t know whether or not it’s the same thing
as a popover. The ingredients are the same, but still…. So
back to the OED; soon I found:

pop-over Chiefly U.S.
Also popover, pop over.

A very light cake made of flour,
milk, eggs, and butter (? so
called because it swells over
the edge of the tin in which
it is baked).

I gather popover is basically the American word for Yorkshire
pudding. They are very similar in their ingredients and in how
they’re prepared. The only difference might be the “swells over
the edge of the tin” part. And yet, my Yorkshire pud box-mix
swelled. Besides, a question mark does precede that phrase.
I think it IS the same. Besides, the definitive answer may just
be in the photo that’s on the front of the Yorkshire-Pudding-
from-Yorkshire-England box:

They sure look like popovers to me!

______________________________

UP NEXT: Historic receipts (recipes) for Yorkshire pudding…and
maybe one or two for popovers, as well

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The receipts (recipes) for many of the dishes that I’ve
been cooking lately (i.e. apple fritters), specify that they
be fried in lard. Now, in the past, I’ve often just bought
it at a local supermarket. However, once I began awhile
back to read the list of ingredients on various and sundry
packages, I soon discovered store-bought lard contains
all kinds of odd and questionable things. So, I went back
to making my own.

Fortunately, another local grocery store sells packages
of pork fat (and it’s fairly inexpensive). So, every now
and then during the past few years, I’ve purchased
batches of that lovely piggy fat and rendered it myself.
It’s done on my “mo-dern” gas stove, of course, as I
don’t have a cooking hearth (although, I have done it
a couple of times at Wyckoff’s firepit and even once
at the Crane House). Nevertheless, I always feel very
“historic” as I toil away, knowing that, no matter what
I’ll be cooking eventually, it’ll be done in a more authentic
manner. And, as my frequent readers know, that’s what
I’m all about. HUZZAH!

____________________

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I was busy cooking at the hearth of the Israel Crane House
this past Sunday. In fact, I’ll be there again the first Sundays
of November and December. And don’t forget about my hearth
cooking class next Sunday, October 9! The menu I have planned
is awesome! HUZZAH!

But I digress. Back to my cooking this past weekend.

In keeping with the season, I again cooked apples, only this time
they were done as dumplings. And, if I say so myself, they turned
out beautifully! I only wish I’d made more. I had a marvelous time
making them. And yes, they were as delicious as they looked!
HUZZAH!

____________________

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