(by Patricia Fieldsteel)
My mother’s Yorkshire pudding was from a recipe in the American housewives’ culinary bible, The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer. She made it in a rectangular, dented and lopsided tin, which she passed on to me once she bought herself a better one. It's similar to popovers and Dutch babies. It was originally known as a “dripping pudding,” a dish developed in northern England to catch the drippings from meat roasted on a spit into a batter pan below. The first recipe in print appeared in The Whole Duty of a Woman (1737). Hannah Glasse published a similar recipe that she renamed Yorkshire Pudding in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. It was originally served as a first course, meant to dampen the appetite, so diners would eat less of the more expensive meat that followed. Today Yorkshire pudding is an almost obligatory accompaniment to a standing loin rib roast of beef. It rises high from the pan when done and retains a custardy inside with a crunchy crisp golden crust.
All ingredients must be at room temperature, otherwise the pudding will not rise.
7/8 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. whole milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. water
Sift flour into a bowl.
With your finger, make a well in the center and pour in milk.
Stir milk into flour with a large whisk.
Whisk eggs into batter, adding water, until large bubbles rise to the surface.
(Can be made to this point 1 hour ahead, covered with plastic wrap, an refrigerated. Beat again when ready to bake.)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Place a metal 9 x 11-inch pan in oven and add about 1/4 inch beef and fat drippings or butter.
When thoroughly heated, remove from oven and pour in batter.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Without opening oven, reduce heat to 350 F. and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes.
Cut into squares for serving.
If not serving immediately, put it under a hot grill or back in the oven to crisp up.
(Read Where's the Beef?, the story that accompanies this recipe.)