How to make Yorkshire pudding
1. What should a proper Yorkshire be like? Light is the optimum word here – light as in airy but also as in crisp. There should be a light, crisp crunchiness on the outside but with a hint of soft squidginess within. All very difficult, you might be thinking, but that's not so, because once you've got the right recipe and, most importantly, the right tin to make it in, and have carefully read and followed these instructions, you'll never have a failure – and that's a promise!
2. To make a Yorkshire pudding to serve six to eight people, you will need a roasting tin measuring 12 x 10 inches (30 x 25 cm) with a solid base (it needs to be solid enough to be placed over direct heat – a vital part of the whole technique). Begin by placing a sieve over a large mixing bowl, then sift in 6 oz (175 g) plain flour, holding the sieve up high to give the flour a good airing as it goes down into the bowl. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that self-raising flour will give more spectacular results – it won't. Plain flour is much better.
3. Now, with the back of a tablespoon, make a well in the centre of the flour and break 2 large eggs into it. Add a pinch of salt and some freshly milled black pepper. Measure 6 fl oz (175 ml) milk and 4 fl oz (110 ml) water into a measuring jug.
4. Then begin to whisk the eggs with an electric whisk and, as you beat them, the flour around the edges will be slowly incorporated.
5. When the mixture becomes stiff simply add the milk and water mix gradually, keeping the whisk going.
6. Stop just before the end and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula so that any lumps can be pushed down into the batter, then whisk again until all is smooth. Now the batter is ready for use and although it's been rumoured that batter left to stand is better, I have discovered no foundation for this – so just make it whenever it's convenient.
7. To cook Yorkshire pudding – remember, keep everything hot: hot oven, hot tin, hot fat and don't forget good oven gloves to protect your hands. Remove the meat from the oven (or if it's not ready, place it on a lower shelf) and turn the oven up to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C). Spoon 2 tablespoons of beef fat into the Yorkshire pudding tin and allow it to pre-heat in the oven.
8. When the oven is up to temperature, remove the tin with your gloves on and place it over direct heat (turned to medium). Then, when the fat begins to shimmer and smoke a little, pour in the batter. Tip it evenly all round and then place the tin on a high shelf in the oven and cook the Yorkshire pudding for 40 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
9. Serve it cut into squares presto pronto! Yorkshire pudding doesn't like waiting around – it can become soggy. Try to arrange things so that it is taken from the oven just as everyone is sitting down to eat.
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