Another week of Great British Bake Off has gone by and this week was batter week; a new challenge for the bakers. I can understand some of the failures of bread week, as 2.5 hours is not long to make a decent loaf of bread, but I really don't think there was any excuse for some of the seriously bad Yorkshire Puddings this week. If there's one thing we've learnt from batter week it's 'don't mess with the flour', after Tom used chickpea flour in his recipe, and they turned out more like a dense blini than a puffed up, light and airy Yorkshire pudding.
I am the first to admit that Yorkshire Puddings have never been my thing, and they have always been a bit hit and miss in the past - sometimes huge, and sometimes a bit on the dense side. I put my hit and miss efforts down to not having a go-to recipe to use each time, so this week I set about researching and testing some recipes so that in the future my Yorkies will be consistent (and hopefully consistently good!)
Some recipes have an exact weight of flour and a certain number of eggs, but they don't always say whether the eggs are medium or large, so surely that has to interfere with the batter consistency? As my memory is often poor when it comes to remembering exact quantities I would also need to make sure that I have this recipe written down somewhere safe (and then remember where that safe place was) if I was to use this method. Then there is the method where you weigh the eggs in a bowl (out of the shell) and then use this weight to base the quantity of the other ingredients on. This is the method I use for baking sponge cakes (weighing the eggs in their shell for cakes) as it then doesn't matter what size your eggs are, and it's easy to increase your quantity of batter based on the number of eggs you want to use (or have).
One important point that I've discovered works best, is to have the batter at room temperature before you use it, so once you've made it you should leave it to rest for a couple of hours at room temperature.
Another important point to bear in mind is the cooking temperature. It's really important to have your oven temperature high and make sure the oil in your pan is, quite literally, smoking hot. The best way that I've found to do this is to pop the muffin pan into the oven as you turn it on to the highest temperature that your oven will go to, and then once the oven has reached that temperature (when the indicator light goes off) the oil will be hot enough to add your batter, at which point I turn the oven down to a more reasonable 200-210C.
The final very important point to remember, is to be patient. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR until the cooking time has passed - which for my puddings was 20-25 minutes. If you open the door any sooner they could flop.
Everyone has their own preference for the fat they use to cook the puddings, whether it's sunflower oil, lard or beef dripping, but I personally prefer to use Trex, a solid vegetable fat, which I also use for roast potatoes.
Now that I've mastered the pud I think we'll be eating a lot more of them around here, and not just with a roast dinner. I've made filled Yorkshire puddings before, and we now always have them on Christmas Eve, but they're also lovely as a dessert, or even for breakfast with a spoonful of Nutella or drizzle of maple syrup!
I decided that my Yorkshire puddings for Great Bloggers Bake Off would be filled with chicken, which had been roasted in cajun spices and drizzled with maple syrup, and was inspired by my trip to London last weekend where myself and my teen daughter enjoyed a southern style afternoon tea at Ma Pluckers.
The roast chicken was stripped from the bone and basted in cooking juices and a drizzle of Maple syrup along with an extra sprinkling of cajun spices, before being loaded into the Yorkshire puddings. A couple of these served with some home made coleslaw and a corn on the cob makes a delicious meal which can be thrown together in minutes, if you've prepared the chicken and puddings in advance.
Yorkshire Puddings - makes 15-18
206g plain flour
pinch of salt
4 medium eggs (weighing 206g out of their shells)
206g skimmed milk
vegetable fat or oil
- add the flour and salt to a large bowl
- whisk in the eggs, milk and water until smooth
- set aside for a couple of hours at room temperature before using
- add half a tsp of fat to each cell of your muffin pans and place the pans into the oven
- turn the oven temperature to maximum and leave until the oven reaches temperature
- remove the pan from the oven and quickly half fill each cell with batter (pouring the batter from a jug helps)
- return the tin to the oven and turn the temperature down to approx 210C
- cook for 20-25 minutes without opening the oven door
Maple & Cajun Spiced Chicken (for the filling)
roast chicken, shredded off the bone
cooking juices from the chicken (fat drained)
- drizzle the shredded chicken with some of the cooking juices and a drizzle of maple syrup, so the chicken is moist, but not wet
- sprinkle on some of the cajun seasoning, to taste
- set aside until you're ready to fill your yorkshire puddings - the chicken can be served cold or warmed up before piling into the puddings
These were absolutely delicious, and I'll definitely be making them again - maybe even on Christmas Eve!
SUNDAY ROAST YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS, FRESH OUT OF THE OVEN (one resembling Peppa Pig)
ONE OF THE MANY BATCHES BAKED OVER THE WEEKEND
I am joining in with the Mummy Mishaps Great Bloggers Bake Off