A perfect Yorkshire puddings mixture needs to be light and airy with the fat at the bottom of the cooking dish needing to be as hot as possible in order for it to rise. His description might not be entirely accurate, the exact origins of the Yorkshire Pudding are unknown, the general consensus being that it’s a dish associated with the North of England.
The prefix Yorkshire was first used within a publication by Hannah Glasse in 1747, in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple. This distinguished the light and crispy nature of the batter pudding made in this region from batter puddings created in other portions of England.
The definition of Pudding was her main problem. By the late eighteenth Century, the modern puddings were no more meat based and this change incidentally coincided with the first published mention of the batter pudding. The original purpose of serving the batter pudding wasn’t as part of a main meal, in the way that it is served with traditional roast dinners now, but instead served before, with gravy, as an appetiser course.
This is because, when meat was expensive the Yorkshire pudding may act to fill the consumer, meeting the appetites of working men and allowing the meat to stretch further: Them at eats t’most pudding gets t’most meat, as the saying goes.
The pudding would have originally been cooked under the meat roasting on a spit over a fire. This position would have meant that the fats and juices from the meat could drip onto the batter pudding, flavouring and adding colour. Sources of those essential fats, especially in the North of England, were more challenging to obtain during that time, particularly with the cost of meat, so every drop which might be used, was.
It’s traditionally cooked in a large, shallow tin and after that cut into squares to be served, as opposed to the individual puddings you can purchase in supermarkets today. In today’s Sunday roast dinners, Yorkshire puddings are included whatever the choice of meat, as opposed to just with beef as is the tradition. Yorkshire puddings, as the accompaniment to the British Sunday Roast, have become such a part of the British institution that they have been appointed their own day of celebration – the first Sunday of February.