For Christmas dinner I made roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and braised Brussels sprouts. I did not buy the right cut of beef, so the roast beef was pretty dry and tasteless and desperately needed au jus to make it edible. It also, because it was too lean, did not exude any pan drippings when roasted, which you are supposed to use to make the Yorkshire puddings. Pretty much a disaster. The Brussels sprouts were also bad, which I attribute to using fresh instead of frozen sprouts. I think they were a bit long in the tooth and subsequently bitter. Strike two!
However the star of the show was the Yorkshire pudding. Even though I did not have the roast beef drippings (I used neutral flavored avocado oil) they turned out great and were surprisingly easy and delicious.
The first trick, as I came to understand from research on the internet, is you want to make the batter well ahead of time, at least over-night or as long as three days ahead and keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator. This allows the gluten to develop and enzymes to go to work on the protein to develop flavor.
If you remember to, you should take the batter out and let it warm to room temperature before using, but this is not critical. Just get the batter into a measuring cup that you can pour from.
It is also critical to pre-warm the pan with the fat in the screaming hot oven before pouring in the batter. Be careful here because you will be carrying around a super-hot muffin pan filled with extremely hot oil.
If you have a kitchen scale use it to measure the ingredients.
Now I know this is easy, I am going to make Yorkshire puddings much more often. Can definitely see them with beef stew, chicken soup, chili, etc.
4 large whole eggs
150 grams all-purpose flour, about 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons
175 grams whole milk, 6 ounces; 3/4 cup
25 grams water, 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons
2 grams kosher salt, about 1/2 teaspoon
100 milliliters beef drippings, lard, shortening, vegetable oil, or bacon drippings
1. Combine eggs, flour, milk, water, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until a smooth batter is formed. Let batter rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, for best results, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate batter overnight or for up to 3 days. Remove from refrigerator while you preheat the oven. Put batter in a measuring cup with a pour spout.
2. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Divide drippings (or other fat) evenly between two 8-inch cast iron or oven-safe non-stick skillets, two 6-well popover tins (see note), one 12-well standard muffin tin, or one 24-well mini muffin tin. Preheat in the oven until the fat is smoking hot, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the pans or tins to a heat-proof surface (such as an aluminum baking sheet on your stove-top), and divide the batter evenly between every well (or between the two pans if using pans). The wells should be filled between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way (if using pans, they should be filled about 1/4 of the way). Immediately return to oven. Bake until the Yorkshire puddings have just about quadrupled in volume, are deep brown all over, crisp to the touch, and sound hollow when tapped. Smaller ones will take about 15 minutes, popover- or skillet-sized ones will take around 25 minutes.
4. Serve immediately, or cool completely, transfer to a zipper-lock freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in a hot toaster oven before serving.