Reinventing the humble Yorkshire pudding

Image caption Hungry yet?

They have been around for hundreds of years but now Yorkshire puddings have found themselves thrust into the culinary spotlight.

This week a BBC video about a Yorkshire pudding wrap was viewed more than 13 million times online, making the dish and how to eat it a real talking point.

It’s polarised opinion, with some saying it’s food heaven and others claiming it is sacrilege and food hell.

But what’s behind the revival of this humble recipe?

And who is qualified to say how it’s best eaten?


What is a Yorkshire pudding anyway?

The Yorkshire pudding is made from a simple batter of eggs, flour and milk and needs to be light yet crispy and well-risen. The general rule is that the fat – often dripping or goose fat – needs to be red hot in the tin before the batter is added, avoiding the much-feared soggy bottom.

According to Yorkshire food historian Peter Brears, the recipe first appeared in a book called The Art Of Cookery by Hannah Glasse in 1747. She *whisper* came from Northumberland.


How did it get its name?

As for how it got its name, Mr Brears said it is likely to have come from Yorkshire miners, who worked incredibly hard but were well paid enough to be able to afford meat and be given free coal to keep a fire going. “A fire and roasted meat were essentials for making Yorkshire pudding,” he said.

It started to be taken up as a Yorkshire symbol in the 1890s when it started appearing on postcards – yes, postcards. From then on, well, it is just folklore.


How is it traditionally served?

The Yorkshire pudding is usually made in a rectangular tin and cut into squares to be served with a roast dinner. It can also be made with whole sausages cooked within it, a dish known as toad-in-the-hole.

Image copyright Getty Images

The baked batter treat is believed to have been originally served as a starter with gravy. That way diners were filled up before the main course so whoever was feeding them could get away with serving less meat.

Some people also like to eat it cold the next day with jam.


What are the new incarnations of the regional speciality?

So far, so good. For the uninitiated, that’s the basics covered. But if the idea of eating something called a “pudding” with a savoury course isn’t mind-bending enough, how about trying it in even more exotic forms from wraps to burritos?

The wraps have been on sale for a while, with a stall dedicated to selling them in Leeds Kirkgate Market and a cafe in York has reportedly had customers queuing out of the door for one since being featured in the online video.

The Yorkshire pudding burrito is also a thing, which is possibly similar to a wrap but with more stuffing. Both feature the elements of a roast dinner encased in a fluffy light batter wrap, and are proving extremely popular.

Earlier this month it was reported a diner in Beverley, Hull, was serving a Yorkshire pudding pizza. The huge pudding is used as a base before a layer of sausage and tomato is added with a cheese topping. Not quite as traditional maybe, but does it work?

Maybe the proof of the pudding really is in the eating.


Has it actually always been a kind of fast food?

Mr Brears who has published several books on the history of food and worked with The National Trust and English Heritage, said the thought of a Yorkshire wrap reminds him of how it was eaten as factory food in the mid to late-19th Century.

Image copyright Empics
Image caption Yorkshire pudding wraps have been on sale in Leeds Kirkgate Market since last year

He said: “When you’d have your Sunday roast you would always cook more potatoes and more veg, and when you went to the mill you took a basin with meat and potatoes and gravy in the bottom and a piece of Yorkshire pudding on top.

“You would wrap it up and then during the day you would stand it on the steam pipes to warm it up.”


How has the Yorkshire pudding wrap gone down online?

Commenting on the BBC News video, Alice Elizabeth Ruggiero said: “My grandmother was a true Yorkshirewomen, she served individual puddings before a dinner of stew – she filled the pudding with the gravy and we ate it like a starter with the meat and vegetables after. It was delicious.”

Shona Court said: “I want our town to have a least three of these places. I would be in heaven as, according to my son, I don’t have blood, I have gravy!!!!”

Image caption The Yorkshire pudding wrap is basically a roast dinner, wrapped in a Yorkshire

Not everyone is a fan. Jan Starkey Dean said: “Isn’t anything sacred anymore, why does everything have to be on the go? Are people so busy they can’t sit down to eat? I think a lot of it is laziness.”

And Patricia Pope said: “Think I will stick with the traditional Sunday roast beef dinner and Yorkshire pudding sitting down at the dinner table so that I can enjoy it thoroughly.”


What does the rest of the world make of a Yorkshire pudding?

US resident Jim Cotton said: “As an American I must admit we don’t understand Yorkshire pudding (although I had some once in the UK and enjoyed it).

Image caption Love them or hate them, you can’t go on social media this week without seeing one

“But this does look great. Maybe a new franchise operation in central Texas?”

Camden Gilbreath added: “I’m American, I had no idea what a Yorkshire pudding was and not super clear on the broad definition of the word “pudding” in the English language, because I think creamy slightly gross dessert.

“All that said call it whatever you will that looks just delicious, idk [I don’t know] what a regular Yorkshire pudding looks like but man that looks good all wrapped up.”


Ok, so enough about actually eating them. What else can you do with a Yorkshire pudding?

These tasty treats make pretty good sporting props, it turns out.

Across the Pennines in Ramsbottom they are used as targets in the annual World Black Pudding Throwing Championships, which celebrates the historic rivalry between Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Image caption In Ramsbottom, contestants throw black puddings at a stack of Yorkshire puddings on a high platform

Contestants throw black puddings with the aim of knocking off as many Yorkshire puddings as possible from a 20ft (6m) platform.

Last year on Yorkshire Day, a Yorkshire pudding throwing contest was held in York to celebrate the region.

They made the sport headlines in April, when Sheffield’s Danny Willett, who won last year’s opening major of the year, promised to include Yorkshire pudding on the menu of the Masters Champions Dinner.

Staying in sport, the parents of triathletes Jonny and Alistair Brownlee joke that the secret of their sons’ success is “roast beef and Yorkshire puddings”.

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