Yorkshire pudding. You’ve seen or heard of it at least once somewhere, most likely from a British film or TV show.
You hear a character say pudding, so your mind thinks of that sweet and decadent custard you know and love.
But when the camera pans to the dish, you get confused, because you see a souffle-like thing with a huge dip in the center. And why is it sitting beside roast beef? And, hold on, is that gravy they’re pouring all over it? What on earth is going on?!
If your mind is still boggled about this strange pudding, don’t worry, I am here to put your confusion to an end. Today, we will talk about what Yorkshire pudding is all about – what it is, its origins, and what it tastes like!
Ready? Let’s dig in.
What is Yorkshire Pudding?
Yorkshire pudding is a British pastry made with flour, eggs, and milk. As its name suggests, it originated in Yorkshire, but it’s a popular side dish all over the United Kingdom.
It’s served as part of the traditional English Sunday roast or lunch, which comprises roasted meat, vegetables, mashed potatoes, and gravy.
The savory pudding is made more flavorful by cooking it underneath the roast, such that it absorbs the drippings coming from the meat.
If you’re still wondering why they gave such a savory dish a sweet name, that’s because Brits and Americans have different definitions of the word “pudding.”
While to us, pudding refers to the smooth and creamy dessert, the British pudding can refer to either a sweet or savory pastry (but more often the latter). As for the sweet pudding we’re all familiar with, they call that custard.
Yorkshire Pudding VS. Popover
So by now, you might think, the Yorkshire pudding sounds a lot like a popover. So, are they the same thing?
Well, the answer is yes and no.
Yes, because both pastries are made with the same batter. But also no, because they’re prepared slightly differently.
Popovers are cooked in a muffin tin greased with meat drippings to give it that beautiful savory flavor.
The Yorkshire pudding is either placed under the roast as it cooks or is baked in the same dish that the meat was cooked on. That way, it gets to soak up all the flavorful meat juice.
What Does Yorkshire Pudding Taste Like?
So, is it safe to say that Yorkshire pudding tastes like popovers? Hmm… to a certain extent, yes. But here’s a much clearer explanation.
Yorkshire pudding has a mild savory flavor with a hint of meatiness. It’s a little eggy and rich because of the meat drippings, but it’s not too greasy.
Apart from popovers, the Yorkshire pudding also has similar flavors to that of a puffy bread roll and the Japanese savory pancake called okonomiyaki.
As for the consistency, Yorkshire pudding is light and airy, and has that wonderful crisp on the outside, tender on the inside goodness.
The History of Yorkshire Pudding
While the Yorkshire pudding is undoubtedly English, we know little about its origins. It could have been brought to England by some invading country, but unfortunately, there are no earlier records of the recipe than the one historians found in the early 1700’s.
The recipe was first found in 1737, in a book called The Whole Duty of a Woman. It was not called Yorkshire pudding then, though. Instead, the author referred to it as a “dripping pudding,” because the batter is cooked underneath spit-roast meat, such that it catches all its drippings.
The recipe appeared for a second time ten years later, in a cookbook called The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse. The author was one of the most famous food writers at the time, and it was her cookbook that launched the popularity of Yorkshire pudding throughout the UK.
Yorkshire pudding lived through the wars and food rationing of the mid-1900’s. Through the decades, as more and more modern women started going to work, people saw a decline in home-cooked meals.
This paved the way for ready-made meals sold at convenience stores. It also launched the first commercially produced Yorkshire pudding in 1995, care of a Yorkshire-based bakery called Aunt Bessie’s.
Today, the popularity of the Yorkshire pudding remains, not just in the United Kingdom but in different parts of the world, too. Whether it’s home-cooked or store-bought, the side dish continues to be a staple in English households.
Fun Facts About Yorkshire Pudding
- Yorkshire pudding was not originally served with the main dish. It used to be eaten before the start of the meal. The goal was to fill people up on pudding so that they won’t need to eat as much meat.
- In 1866, Mrs. Beeton, a famous food writer, released a recipe of Yorkshire pudding in her cookbook. But, she forgot to include a crucial rule for cooking it right: the part about baking it in the hottest oven possible. And she also made another huge blunder: she instructed the readers to cook the pudding for 60 minutes prior to cooking it under the meat.
- The Yorkshire pudding is such a famous dish that it has its own day! The UK celebrates British Yorkshire Pudding Day on February 3rd. To the rest of the world, the National Yorkshire Pudding Day is celebrated on October 13th.
- The key to the best-tasting Yorkshire pudding is in the hot fat. Wait for the oil to be at its hottest point before pouring the batter in.
- In order to be called a legit Yorkshire pudding, it has to be at least 4 inches tall. Any shorter or flatter than that is a flop.