This week’s entry is inspired by a disagreement between my wife and I over the Christmas Lunch menu…
Now, just for a bit of context, I’d like to make the point that I am a proud Yorkshireman. I grew up under the White Rose and I will always have flat caps and whippets in my blood. I now live on the darker side of the Pennines in St Helens, which is where my wife hails from, and she is a proud Wooly Back. It’s safe to say that they do things differently over here so when it came to planning our Christmas meal this sparked a conflict of opinions. To Pudding or not to Pudding?
My thoughts are that Yorkshires are for Sunday roasts only; the Christmas dinner table is full of all the trimmings and doesn’t need a lardy pancake. My wife, however, believes that puddings are a natural fit to the meal. I can see her point but I still disagree so I wanted to turn to the world for support (or otherwise) on the subject.
So my question is: what is the pudding etiquette (or ‘petiquette’ for those who enjoy elision)?
Traditionally Yorkshires started their life serving a very different purpose. Most regions had their own version of this treat but it’s most familiar guise is in Yorkshire. They were designed as a fatty food to fuel the mine and mill workers in the county’s industries and would have been much bigger than the ones we serve today; they may have even been flavoured with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
The only direction I can find on petiquette was to do with height, as introduced by the Royal Society of Chemistry in November 2008 stating that a Yorkshire pudding can only be a Yorkshire pudding if it is at least 4 inches tall. Whilst this was quite interesting, it didn’t help my conundrum.
Growing up, I was aware that Yorkshires were eaten in different ways though. I had friends, albeit from deepest darkest Barnsley, who would enjoy the batter pudding as a separate course with a vinegar and mint sauce. I also know of many pubs who would serve in a similar fashion but as a bar snack.
So, after about 30 minutes of indignant e-research, I relented. There is no such thing as petiquette and a pudding is a pudding is a pudding. However I strongly believe that there is pudding treason (or ‘peason’ to continue the theme). So my wife and I, like all good teams, found a compromise. Which was: if you’re going to serve Yorkshires, do the history justice and make them and do it properly. They’re really easy and impressive there’s no need to buy any readymade monstrosities; Aunt Bessie is no friend of the Yorkshire!
To help save you from committing peason I’ve included my favourite recipe for beautifully fluffy homemade puddings passed down by the Yorkshire chef, David Greenwood-Haigh:
‘The secret to making Yorkshires, as they are fondly known, is to pour well rested, cold batter into slightly smoking hot fat and put immediately back into a really hot oven. It is as simple as that.
- 20g Beef dripping
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 200 g plain flour
- 200 ml milk
- 100 ml water
- freshly ground sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 225°C/425°F/gas 9.
Get a pudding or muffin tin and grease each of the compartments with the dripping.
Put the tray into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes so the fat gets really hot; you should be looking for a blue haze just above the fat.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs, flour, milk, water and a pinch of salt and pepper together in a bowl until light and smooth. Then pour into a jug.
**Northern Munkee tip: add in a couple of splashes of cider vinegar to your batter before you let it rest, it adds a great juxtaposition in flavours and it tastes bloody lovely!**
Carefully remove the tray from the oven, then share out the batter evenly into the compartments. Put the tray back in the oven to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until risen and golden.’
Fore more recipes from David visit: www.coeurdexocolat.co.uk/recipes
Happy Christmas and have a brilliant New Year!