Top chef's tips for the perfect Yorkshire pudding

Ben Handley, from the Duck Inn at Stanhoe and the Hunworth Bell, with his Yorkshire puddings.

Ben Handley, from the Duck Inn at Stanhoe and the Hunworth Bell, with his Yorkshire puddings. - Credit: AWPR/Andrew Waddison

Along with fluffy roast potatoes and a rich gravy, Yorkshire puddings are a staple of a British roast dinner.

Sunday marks National Yorkshire Pudding Day, so we've recruited the help of Ben Handley, from the Duck Inn at Stanhoe and the Hunworth Bell, to talk us through making the perfect pud.

The Duck Inn has been a finalist for Best Sunday Lunch in The Observer Food Monthly Awards for the last seven years running and both pubs have been named in the Top 5 UK Pubs by GQ.

"The recipe is for traditional Yorkshire Puddings and is incredibly simple," he said.

A Yorkshire pudding is a staple for any British roast dinner.

A Yorkshire pudding is a staple for any British roast dinner. - Credit: Andrew Waddison/AWPR

"We serve them with duck fat roast potatoes, fresh seasonal vegetable and bowls of steaming cauliflower cheese. No-one ever goes hungry on a Sunday and it's our favourite day of the week.

"I stay at The Duck overnight on Saturdays in order to slow cook the meat and prepare everything for the most important meal of the week, we cannot wait to reopen and start welcoming friends and families back once more."

Sunday, February 7 marks National Yorkshire Pudding Day.

Sunday, February 7 marks National Yorkshire Pudding Day. - Credit: Andrew Waddison/AWPR

Ingredients

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Makes four large puddings or eight small ones.

For this I have used cup sizes to keep it simple (a cup size depends on the amount required and we will assume one cup = four eggs).

1 cup fresh free range eggs

1/2 cup plain flour

1/2 cup strong white bread flour

1 cup milk

Vegetable oil

One pinch fine sea salt

One pinch freshly ground white pepper

Method

Heat oven to 190C.

Beat the eggs in a bowl until thoroughly mixed and be sure to try and get as much air into them as possible.

The supplies you'll need to make a Yorkshire pudding.

The supplies you'll need to make a Yorkshire pudding. - Credit: Andrew Waddison/AWPR

Add a pinch of fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper.

Fold in the flour. My head chef Shaun’s nan has the mantra here that ‘you’re making a batter, so if there are a few lumps in it, it really doesn’t matter!And she is quite right. You can use only plain flour if you wish, but we use half strong white bread flour as it adds some elasticity and allows the puddings to stretch and not split when cooking.

Add the milk and mix until everything is combined into a nice batter. Feel free to add another splash of milk if you feel it needs to be a bit looser.

We find better results if the batter is then placed in the fridge overnight before cooking so it’s ideal to make on a Saturday evening with a nice glass of wine.

Sunday, February 7 marks National Yorkshire Pudding Day.

Sunday, February 7 marks National Yorkshire Pudding Day. - Credit: Andrew Waddison/AWPR

Once the oven is up to temperature put a splash of vegetable oil in shallow Yorkshire pudding tins and put in the oven for a few minutes to get very hot.

You can use pork, duck or beef fat instead to give a richer depth of flavour. This is also the time to remove your Sunday roast joint from the oven to rest.

Pour the batter into the tins, don’t be shy - I like to fill them right up to the brim even in deep muffin moulds, and prefer to fill them while still in the oven.

Chef Ben Handley advises staying close to the oven when pouring in the Yorkshire batter.

Chef Ben Handley advises staying close to the oven when pouring in the Yorkshire batter. - Credit: Andrew Waddison/AWPR

Close the oven and do not be tempted to open the oven door until they are ready. Cook for 24 minutes (all appliances vary) until risen and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and serve!

Try to your oven closed while cooking the Yorkshire puddings.

Try to avoid peeking and opening the oven while the Yorkshire puddings are cooking. - Credit: Andrew Waddison/AWPR

Sunday, February 7 marks National Yorkshire Pudding Day.

Sunday, February 7 marks National Yorkshire Pudding Day. - Credit: Andrew Waddison/AWPR

He added: "Yorkshire puddings are incredibly versatile and can even be cooked in advance (they freeze well too if you have freezer space) and simply need to be placed back in the oven for a couple of minutes to warm through.

"There are plenty of variations to make your Yorkie experience a bit different. We all remember those little 1970’s canapés with a mini Yorkshire pudding filled with a cold slice of roast beef and some horseradish, or even a light pudding filled with Staithe Smokehouse smoked salmon, cream cheese and chives - perfect on a Summer’s day when we can finally have our friends and family back with us.

"Dessert options include Cherry Clafoutis which is a fantastic French dish which is essentially the same batter with added sugar and vanilla essence, poured over fresh cherries and baked. Dust it with icing sugar and you have the perfect brunch or dessert.

"One of our family favourites is of course toad in the hole. We use best sausages from our local butcher, Arthur Howell, which we sear in a cast iron pan before pouring the batter mixture over and baking in the oven for 24 minutes.

"Add a dollop of creamy mash, caramelised onions and seasonal veg and you have the perfect comfort plate of winter deliciousness."

One of the roast dinners from the Duck Inn at Stanhoe.

One of the roast dinners from the Duck Inn at Stanhoe. - Credit: Andrew Waddison/AWPR


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