Saturday, 15 December 2012

C is for Christmas Countdown

I'm getting ahead of Christmas by getting some things cooked and frozen.  Lots of things freeze well, and here are some of the items in my freezer:

  • Breadcrumbs for stuffings / bread sauce
  • Chillis
  • Gougères
  • Grated cheese
  • Gruyère popovers
  • Herbs in butter (tarragon and dill)
  • Red wine (that half a glass in the bottle that quickly turns into vinegar decanted into a bag); and
  • Yorkshire Puddings

My recipe for Yorkshire Puddings starts with heating your oven to its highest temperature with the tin you'll be using in the oven.  Then crack half the number of large eggs for the number of people having the puddings into a measuring jug, plus one more for the pot--so if you're making puddings for ten people you need six eggs.

See where the level comes up to and decant the contents into a bowl.  Then tip in plain (all-purpose) flour to the same level in the same jug and tip that onto the eggs,  Then fill the same jug to the same level with milk and pour into your mixing bowl.  Season and whisk all the ingredients together.  Set aside in a cool spot (out of reach of children and pets) for at least half an hour.

Meanwhile heat up lard or veggie oil in the tin you're using--be generous here.  I generally prefer individual tins but if you don't have them, a large roasting tin (without the rack) will work.  Heat the fat for at least 15 minutes.  It has to be smoking and the batter should sizzle when you ladle it into the tins.  If it doesn't sizzle then you may be a bit disappointed when you take out your Yorkshires later.

Mix the batter together again as it will have separated while standing, and ladle into the tin.

Individual Puddings
If you're using tin(s) with individual wells, put in enough batter so that it's just below the level of each well. Set the remaining batter aside, and then put the tin back carefully into the oven.  Shut the door and DO NOT OPEN for at least 15 minutes.  If you don't have an oven with a window, you just have to sweat it out!  Another reason why I make mine in advance...I can ditch any puds that aren't perfect!  Repeat, melting the fat and cooking the batter until it's all used up.

One Big One
Larger ones will take longer (up to 25 minutes) and obviously you pour all your batter into the one big tin. You can check after about 20 minutes and if it's not done, shut the door again carefully. Don't slam it!

At this stage I leave mine to cool and then freeze in plastic bags ready for the day they're needed. Then take out and either cook from frozen in a hot oven for around five minutes.

Or they can live in the fridge for up to five days and should be reheated in a hot oven (though won't take quite as long as the frozen ones).

Serve hot out of the oven with lashings of gravy (oh...and the rest of the dinner of course)!

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