Here in Yorkshire, God’s own county, we celebrate Yorkshire Day on 1 August. The origins of this day allegedly go back to the Battle of Minden in Prussia, during the seven years’ war, where the English defeated the French army on 1 August 1759. It was said that the heroism of Yorkshire soldiers, who fought in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, won the day.
This day also marks the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves, which was put into law in 1834, largely thanks to the efforts of Yorkshire MP William Wilberforce. It was revived once more in 1975 by the Yorkshire Ridings’ Society, as “a protest movement against the local government re-organisation of 1974”.
Whatever the reason, it gives us a chance to reinforce our sense of identity, be proud and give a boost to Yorkshire folk who live in exile away from this wonderful county … by eating our famous Yorkshire puddings.
There are lots of tales about their origins. In the middle ages, they were called ‘dripping puddings’ and there is even a story about an angel giving the recipe to a kindly woman. The most common explanation is that families used them to fill up their children so they wouldn’t eat much meat. Yorkshire pudding is served as a starter or an accompaniment to roast beef. The modern recipe is reputed to come from Hannah Glass, a famous 18th century Yorkshire cook in ‘The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy’.
Grandma Abson was an expert in making perfect Yorkshire puddings. She usually served them with gravy and homemade raspberry vinegar. Here’s her recipe:
5 tbsps plain flour (4 ½ oz/125g flour)
Milk to mix (½ pint/275ml)
Fat or oil for cooking
How to make
Mix the ingredients gradually to the consistency of cream. Let it stand and stir occasionally, lifting a tablespoonful of the mixture to get air in. Heat the fat/oil in Yorkshire pudding tins in a very hot oven. Pour in enough mixture to cover each base. Cook in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes (425F, Mark 7, 220C).
Grandma’s tips for perfect Yorkshire puddings :
- Get the fat (or oil) sizzling
- Get the oven really hot
- Use plain, not self-raising, flour
- Sift the flour
- Use a wooden spoon to mix
- Leave the batter to rest for half an hour before cooking
- Don’t fill the Yorkshire pudding tins more than one third
- Don’t open the oven door during cooking
- Serve straightaway – Grandma had us sitting at the table waiting!
Enjoy Yorkshire Day wherever you are.
You can read more about Grandma Abson’s life, her passion for baking and recipes HERE. Or head over to @potsaway on Instagram to check out how Meryl and Patrick are still cooking together apart in #lockdown (they had a reunion meal recently).