I decided to make a traditional Sunday dinner this week. We bought a Sirloin end roast from Dewar's, I had horseradish and creme fraiche for horseradish sauce, we had carrots from the farmer's market for mashed carrots (husband's favourite), all that was missing was the Yorkshire Pudding.
Ah...Y.P., what can I say, simple alchemy of eggs, flour, milk and pan drippings turn into the most amazing thing in the oven.
Over the years I have tried many recipes. My mother's, my grandmother's, Delia, packaged mixes but no recipe for me has ever beaten the one from Jane Grigson's 'English Food'. I shall be very bad and copy it here verbatim because the recipe is perfect and the story surrounding it, hilarious.
The Prize Winning Chinese Yorkshire pudding
Several years ago, six chefs competed at Leeds in the 'Great Yorkshire pudding Contest'. To the chagrin of native cooks, the winner was Mr. Tin Sung Chan from Hong Kong, who ran the Chopsticks restaurant. 'his methods were unorthodox,' wrote the Guardian reporter, 'his ingredients oddly arranged, but his pudding swelled to the height of a coronation crown and its taste, according to one of the judges was superb.'
300 ml (1/2 pt) milk
Just under 1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
1/2 tsp. tai luk sauce*
250g (8oz) plain flour, sifted
Mix all ingredients except the flour, beating them well together. I use a one of those cuisinart hand mixers and I let this mixture sit out to get to room temperature or while the roast cooks. I have found that this matters a great deal to the end result. Whisk in the flour. Again, I use the Cuisinart hand mixer for this. Lots of air is good. Heat a roasting pan (I use a Pyrex 9X12 glass dish for this) with either some drippings from the roast or if you are really bad and have Duck fat from D'Artagnan in your fridge use some of that, in desperate times I have used canola oil in a 450F oven until very hot.
Carefully pour in your batter and place back in the oven and cook for 20 minutes 52.2 seconds.
Watch it grow through the window, better than Shrinky Dinks!
*For years i puzzled over tai luk sauce, asking at Chinese groceries without success. Then an enterprising niece found what seems to be the answer: her request for tai luk was greeted with much laughter: apparently it means 'mainland' i.e. 'mainland China'. So tai luck was a kind of secret-ingredient joke, an amiable joke at the expense of Yorkshire patriotism.
Slice or tear into pieces.