Anyway, I was watching one of my favorite shows, 5 Ingredient Fix, on Food Network this morning and throughout the episode Claire kept interchanging yorkshire pudding and popover which irritated me enough to want to blog about it. According to Culinary giant, James Beard, the resemblance between Yorkshire pudding and popovers is coincidental, because the popover has gone through several changes before becoming the recipe that it is now. Although they are related, there is a difference between yorkshire pudding and popovers, and there's a lot of misconception involved with these members of the puff pastry kingdom.
“Popovers rise, yorkshire puddings don’t” is something I've read several times. So yeah, that's why if you fill the tin or tins more than halfway with batter your oven doubles as a fireplace! “Popovers are made with the batter going into individual cups while yorkshire pudding batter goes directly into the roasting pan.” Traditionally yes, this is true, however in recent years most people have started to make individual sized yorkshire puddings rather than one large one. My favorite misconception is mired with "Ugly American" syndrome, "using beef drippings is purely an American invention and distinguishes the popover from the Yorkshire pudding." Sorry compatriots but our neighbors across the pond have been using beef drippings in pastry for a couple of centuries now.
Popover batter tends to involve herbs and many people like to grease individual cups with butter instead of drippings or oil. Both Yorkshire pudding and popovers can be made sweet and eaten as a dessert or as a side drizzled, or drowned whatever your preference, with a savory gravy.
Ok, so how do you make the perfect yorkshire pudding without burning your house down or sending dinner guests running for the nearest bathroom? Check this out:
Preheat the oven to 425F. Just cover the bottoms of each cup with the drippings/oil and heat in the oven. Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the center. Drop the egg in the well then add half the milk and half the water and mix together with a wooden spoon. Then add the other half of the milk and water and stir until the batter is smooth and has bubbles in it. The pan drippings/oil should be hot at this point so carefully pour the batter about halfway into each cup and return to the oven for 45 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR FOR THE FIRST 30 MINUTES AS THE PUDDINGS COULD COLLAPSE. Puddings should be golden brown, have risen above the cups like a popover except with an indentation in the center. Serves 6.
A couple of personal notes. First I’ve yet to be able to get a decent yorkshire pudding when using chicken drippings. I’ve yet to try beef drippings but I get the best results with vegetable oil. Also, for the past 8 years I’ve been using regular muffin and cupcake tins to make yorkshire puddings and while these haven’t been too bad, I’ve found investing in a popover tin helps make some great puddings so if you don’t have one already definitely put that on your gift list this year! If you’re really tight for money the aluminum disposable tins are doable however you do get a better quality in solid metal baking tins. I’ve yet to try the silicone cups that are all the rage now but if you have please let everyone know what the outcome was.