A true staple of british cooking, Yorkshire puddings are unique pastries with a long history. They’re iconic, savory pastries; nothing the way an American eater would imagine a pudding.
If you’ve got an interest in diving deeper into the world of English patisserie, Yorkshire puddings should be at the top of your list. It’s a quintessential British recipe. But what does Yorkshire pudding taste like?
Yorkshire pudding tastes like a fried flour dough. It is fluffy, made with a simple batter of flour, eggs, milk, and a pinch of salt. The batter is similar to one used for pancakes, and makes for a light textured roll-like pastry.
What Does Yorkshire Pudding Taste Like?
History And Methods
Yorkshire puddings have been around for centuries. The story goes that the batter being used to make a meat pie ran over the edge of the tin it was baked in. The result was an airy, tasty pastry.
This story goes back to the mid 18th century, but it’s assumed that this recipe goes back much further. In truth, the proper origin of Yorkshire puddings is somewhat mysterious, with these claims to fame being mere speculation.
It’s a bake with simple origins, and one that is deceptively simple to whip up. Because everyone has their preference for how they like theirs, it can seem harder than it is.
The method used to make these golden puffs is similar to the French pate a choux dough technique. This is the type of dough that makes cream puffs, Parisian gnocchi, and gougeres. The key is a high moisture dough that rises with steam.
When making a Yorkshire pudding, the dough is so moist that it pours out of the mold like a cream puff would. It almost quadruples in volume when it is cooked. This works in with the supposed spilling-over origins of the dish.
As for what a Yorkshire pudding actually tastes like, it’s a simple yet hearty flavor. The buttery, slightly crisp, but still moist dough has a savory flavor. It’s the very slightly salty taste of a well made bread.
For comparison, think of the flavor of a Dutch baby, or a popover. They’re like baked, fluffy pancakes, only much less sweet. That pinch of salt doesn’t make them notably ‘salty’, but it does balance out the flavors well. You should detect a somewhat ‘creamy’, soft taste.
These puddings are supposed to be rich and tasty. If made with more egg yolks than whites, you’ll wind up with an even richer Yorkshire. Using the entire egg is usually preferred, but making one with one extra yolk will up the richness game considerably.
Black pepper is another ingredient that can be added in to the mix. Some say that this will help the puddings rise. This is up for debate, but what is for sure is that they will add a lovely complex flavor to Yorkshire puddings. A hint of peppery kick will elevate the flavor of the puddings savory, creamy presence.
Yorkshire puddings can be served as a main dish, but this is less common. Typically, you’ll find Yorkshire puddings as a side dish, and served with gravy.
Rich, meaty gravy is perfectly nestled into the cuplike shape of a Yorkshire pudding. The deeply meaty, savory flavors are drawn out by the faintly salty and buttery exterior of a crisp Yorkshire pudding. The herbs in the gravy have an excellent backdrop on a flaky Yorkshire pudding.
Yorkshire pudding is sometimes cooked in meat drippings. This makes them extra herbaceous and beefy. They’re usually served with roast meat and potatoes.
Sometimes it’s even cooked in the same pan as the roasting meat. This will add a fatty, succulent taste to puddings. Beef fat is more flavorful than neutral vegetable or corn oils.
Yorkshire puddings are airy, fluffy, and soft. They have a slight crispiness along the tops, where they’ve browned up in the oven. Because of that, there’s a soft crunch to them.
However inside, they’re tender and moist. Adding gravy to the puddings will make them even softer, soaking up all of the extra moisture. They’re meant to mop up gravies, drippings, and other debris that you’d get on your plate in your roast dinner.
Some prefer their Yorkshire puddings to have a softer ‘squidgier’ texture at the base when they’ve been cooked in oil or beef drippings. Others like theirs crisp throughout. This is a matter of preference, but most will have at least a bit of softness on the bottom.
It seems that many from Yorkshire like them to be especially moist near the bottom and crisped near the top. Yorkshire puddings will have a few regional differences like this.
The way the dough is made is, as stated, similar to the pate a choux method of French patisserie. “Choux” in French means ‘cabbage’. This is named so because the way this type of pastry typically has thin layers inside. These layers are wavy in a way that resembles a cabbage. Where the Yorkshire puddings are less creamy, around the edges, you’ll find some of those thin, wavy layers.
How you cook your puddings will have an impact on how their texture is at the end of the day. If you make Yorkshire puddings with a colder batter, the puffs will me more dense, with a more prominent ‘cup’.
Warm batter, on the other hand, will create taller, crispier puddings with more of that flaky top. Cooking with beef drippings, as is traditional, will make for nice, crispy Yorkshire puddings. The bang of savory flavor they add doesn’t hurt, either.
Yorkshire puddings will smell much like baking bread. They’ll have the slightly salty, yeasty aromatic notes that you’d expect from a baked pastry. You’ll smell the meat drippings too, with a fatty, meaty scent mixed in with any herbs present.
Is Yorkshire Pudding Sweet?
Contrary to the American perception of a pudding, Yorkshire pudding is not sweet. It can be dressed up to be sweet, though this is uncommon. Yorkshire pudding tastes savory, breadlike, and somewhat egglike.
To make it sweet, some add sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, or powdered sugar. That makes it a quick and easy dessert or sweet breakfast. This goes hand in hand with the way it is sometimes likened to a popover.
It’s thought that they used to have sweeter applications as well as savory ones. However with such a long history, it’s likely that they’ve been made every way you can imagine. The most common way you’ll experience a Yorkshire pudding is in a savory context.
Yorkshire puddings are an essential, iconic English dish. It has a long, though often debated, history. It is served as a main dish sometimes, but more often as a side dish. It’s perfect for sopping up gravy, drippings, demi glaces, and sauces with meats.
Drippings are actually where Yorkshire puddings get their start. They’re commonly cooked in the drippings from roasting meats like beef or pork. This gives them a savory, meaty kick.
Yorkshire puddings have a crispy top and a squidgy bottom. You’ll find a divot in the center, which is perfect for dressing up with meats and other toppings. The center is soft and a little creamy.