Monday, March 7, 2016

Yorkshire Pudding




A Downton Abbey marathon is "good golly gumdrops" if I might quote a Grantham! The Louis family and we spend the day draped on sofa and chair, with teary-eyes and cheerful smiles, surrendering to a short goodbye. It is the culmination and conclusion, a gift to us, neatly wrapped in a pretty bow. No worries, no spoilers from me, even though this glorious series comes to an end. 

This day has been long in the planning.  As Anglophiles savoring the intricacies of a time gone by, we have reveled in the trials and tribulations of upstairs/downstairs happenings in a English manor, avidly over six years. After watching the Granthams and their minions eat sumptuous breakfasts, lunches, dinners and endless cups of tea, it seems only too appropriate to pay tribute to the cast and characters in food and wine. For years I have been intrigued by Mrs Patmore's culinary creations. Though I cannot see myself slaving in a candlelit kitchen.We plan the vittles to highlight century old food.



Peals of laughter echo as I greet the Louis family in character. A mid morning break is heralded with Melanie's mimosas and Elaine's mini quiches. Lunch is finger sandwiches made with coronation chicken salad, egg salad and arugula, cucumber cream cheese and Colleen's tomato cheese, along with a simple arugula salad. Episode 6 ends with Keith's apple cake, scones with strawberry jam and cream and a strong brew of PG Tips. The finale is followed by a splashy sit-down dinner. We start with cream of celery with fried shallots. Lemon roast chicken is accompanied by potatoes, snap peas, stuffing and mini Yorkshire puddings. Trifle brings the meal to a sweet end. 

Yorkshire puddings usually appear along with a traditional Sunday roast. Muffin tins are lined with beef drippings from the roast, my choice of fat. These drippings add a meaty flavor that regular fat cannot replicate. The batter is poured into heated drippings creating an instant crust. As they rise, they give off an inviting aroma. These mini puddings scream England with every bite.



YORKSHIRE PUDDING 
Makes 12 muffin size portions or 24 mini muffin portions or a 10 inch pie plate


1 cup all purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs
1 cup whole or 2% Milk
1/2 cup Pan drippings from roasted Beef (best) OR Bacon fat (adequate substitute) OR Olive Oil (last resort)


IMPORTANT---The batter needs to sit overnight in the fridge.

Whisk flour and salt in a bowl.

Make a well in the center of the bowl. Add eggs and milk and whisk well till the batter has no lumps and is smooth. 




Cover and refrigerate batter overnight.

Remove batter from the fridge an hour before baking.

Heat oven to 450F.

Pour a scant teaspoon of fat into muffin tins. Place muffin pan on a tray. 

Heat muffin tray in oven for 15 minutes.

Remove tray from oven and fill the containers 3/4 full with batter. 




Place tray in oven for 18-30 minutes. If you are using a 12 muffin pan, bake for 25-30 minutes till puddings are brown and crusty. If you are using a mini muffin pan, bake puddings for 18-20 minutes. If you use a pie plate, bake for 25-30 minutes.

Serve immediately with roast beef, roast chicken or any typical roasted English meat.








NOTES

You could make them ahead of time. Reheat in the muffin trays for 10 minutes in a 400F oven.

As I said earlier beef drippings are my first choice. Bacon fat works in a pinch. Olive oil is a last resort with the least amount of taste.




The crystal decanter is filled with peaty Scotch. Wine is decanted. The table is laid with all things English. An old lamp hailing from the hallways of Downton. A priceless Booth's demitasse set. Initialed napkins. Hothouse lilies. A sumptuous feast. We discuss and dissect, digest and degust. A fitting end to the series that captures our hearts and minds. Unfortunately for us, we have no kitchen staff. G slips into the role of chief bottle washer! With the clinking of glass and the clanking of saucepans, an immensely pleasurable six years washes away in one evening.