DEBORAH CROMBIE: In anticipation of tomorrow night's episode of Downton Abbey, as well as Episode 1 of Sherlock, Series 3 (in the US) we have a real treat for tomorrow's JRW--Charles Todd's Inspector Ian Rutledge is going to visit Downton Abbey and solve a very mysterious crime!
To whet our appetites even more, I thought we could plan our Sunday around a roast with very proper Yorkshire Puddings. Afterwards, you can have your mince tarts, and then curl up with your sherry for an evening of British telly.
Would you believe I had never made Yorkshire pudding until this last year, when my friend convinced me to try the recipe in Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution cookbook (which I had convinced her to buy. So what goes around, comes around.) Yorkshire pudding had always sounded daunting to me, and to be honest, the puddings I'd had in English restaurants had been a bit soggy and tough.
Oh, the revelation! The delight! Jamie's puddings are light and fluffy and practically melt in your mouth. And they are easy peasy! I also discovered that as good as they are with savories like roast beef or lamb, they are perhaps even better for breakfast the next day, reheated and served with a dab of jam. Good English jam, of course.
Here is Jamie's recipe. It serves 12, but believe me, if you have leftovers, you'll be hoarding them for breakfast.
3 eggs, preferably free-range or organic
1 cup all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
scant 1 1/4 cups milk
vegetable oil (I use canola.)
Whisk the eggs, flour, salt, and milk together really well in a bowl to make your batter. Pour the batter into a jug and let it rest to one side for 30 minutes before you use it--this helps to make it smoother, giving you wonderfully light and crispy puddings.
Turn the oven up to 475 F and let it preheat fully. As it's warming up, put a muffin pan on a cookie sheet and place on the top shelf of the oven. When the oven is up to temperature, carefully remove the pan and sheet, close the oven door, and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to each muffin hole in the muffin pan. Pop the pan and sheet back into the oven for 5 minutes until the oil is smoking hot.
Open the oven door and slide the rack with the pan and sheet on it halfway out. Quickly fill each muffin hole with batter, then slide the rack carefully back into the oven. Leave the oven door shut for at least 15 minutes, and don't open it to check on how the Yorkshires are doing, otherwise they'll end up all sunken.
After 15 minutes, the Yorkshires will be crisp and golden with a soft, fluffy center. If you prefer them to be crispy all the way through, turn the oven down to 300 F and cook 10 more minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven once the puddings are crisp, golden, and puffed up. Serve as soon as possible with your roast beef and gravy--or anything else you fancy...
I cooked them the way Jamie recommends, still fluffy in the center, and highly recommend it!
So, REDS and READERS, have you ever made Yorkshire puddings? Did they turn out as well as Jamie's?
And what will you be doing to get you in the mood for a great night of British telly?