National Yorkshire pudding day – When a Yorkshire Pud rises to the occasion

What could be more traditional on a Sunday than roast beef and  Yorkshire Puddings? and yes, we think you need more than one pudding!

The first Sunday in February is a very special day – it’s National Yorkshire Pudding Day.  So, to tell a tale of this utterly batterly pudding, we travel back in time to 1737 when The Whole Duty of a Woman was published with a recipe for “Dripping Pudding”. Cooks in the North of England devised a plan to change the course of cookery  for eternity and was a really good example of early reusing and recycling ingredients!

The fat from the dripping pan was used to cook a ‘batter pudding’ while the meat roasted in the oven. It was a simple idea  – the best ones are often are.

The recipe reads: “Make a good batter as for pancakes; put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton, instead of a dripping pan. Frequently shake it by the handle and it will be light and savoury and fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it into a dish and serve it hot.”

In 1747, Hannah Glasse (the original cooking goddess) shook up the recipe with her own version in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple.  Hannah was the equivalent of Delia Smith or Nigella Lawson – and let’s not forget Jamie Oliver. She re-invented and re-named the pudding, calling them Yorkshire Puddings.

Puds for a starter

Did you know that Yorkshire Pudding was often eaten between courses – to fill up families and save on the expensive meat dishes to follow.

A Yorkshire pudding was traditionally cooked in a large, shallow tin and then cut into squares to be served, rather than the individual puddings you can make or buy today. And they are now served with any meat, not just beef.

Yorkshire Puddings are THE accompaniment to ANY “British Sunday Roast”, have become such a part of the British institution that they have been nominated their own day of celebration – the first Sunday of February.

Yorkshires on the rise

We’re not sure if it is a tall story, but are they officially only Yorkshire Puds if they are 4” puddings?  In 2008, The Royal Society of Chemistry got involved in the debate – declaring a pudding is only a Yorkshire Pudding if it is 4” high. There was also some discussion as to whether the altitude of cooking made a difference, but Chemical scientist and author John Emsley, of Yorkshire, believes that the ability to make good pudds is “in the blood and instinct of people born and raised [in Yorkshire].

The Yorkshire pudding survived the wars, the food rationing of the 40s and 50s, and remains as popular today. But as more women started working outside the home and the pace of modern life grew, home cooking began to decline.

The rise of convenience foods and ready-made meals toward the end of the last century saw the invention of the first commercially produced Yorkshire Puddings with the launch of the Yorkshire-based Aunt Bessie’s brand in 1995.

We believe that home cooking (and making Yorkshires) is on the rise again. The secret to making great puds lies in the preparation:

Use free range eggs of course, but most of all, make sure the pan is smoking hot. Have a look at our Yorkshire Pudding  recipe and tell us what you think.

Recycling and reusing again – for dessert

Traditionally, leftover Yorkshire pudding pieces were used up; reheated and served with jam or fruit or syrup the next day. The crispiness of the Yorkshire pudding meant they kept well to be eaten later, and again, nothing was wasted. So, it comes as no surprise that Yorkshires are now great sweet puddings today.

Yorkshires are great as a dessert – used as a “pudding” in the true sense, filled with jam and ice cream – or your favourite fillings – we like lemon curd and ice cream too recipe. go at our Lemon Curd recipe .

Fascinating facts:Yorkshire Pudding day - make them with free range eggs at the Lakes

Pudding expert – Yorkshireman Christopher Blackburn is from Halifax and loves Yorkshire puds so much that he created a website extolling the virtues He has lots of unusual ways to make the most of the Yorkshire Pud.

Mountains of puddings – if you haven’t time to bake them yourself – did you know that Aunt Bessie’s makes up to a whopping 20 million Yorkshire puds every week.

Yorkshire Puddings and Mars bars – One of the most unusual desserts was created by Yorkshire Pudding expert and chef Ben Cox. His team at The Star at Sancton, have been known to serve up a gem of a dessert – a pud served with a chocolate sauce (instead of gravy). Testing of various chocolates proved Mars bars helped to make the best recipe.

What a joy to celebrate the humble Yorkshire Pudding twice a year.

  • 1st Sunday of February: British Yorkshire Pudding Day
  • 13th October: National Yorkshire Pudding Day (also celebrated in USA)