I have finally tracked down my Holy Grail of the perfect Yorkshire Pudding Recipe from the Executive Chef of the Royal York hotel- Steve Carruthers. York is my favourite city in the UK and the texture and flavour of Yorkshire pudding are one of its many highlights.
And here it is!:
- 1 lb plain flour
- 8 eggs
- ½ pint semi-skimmed milk
- Salt and pepper to season
Begin by combining the ingredients to form a smooth batter. Season to taste and add cold water if too thick (note, using hot or warm water will damage the consistency of your batter and hinder them rising). When trying to make truly great Yorkshire puddings, a deep tray is preferred (muffin trays tend to be deeper, have steeper sides and fare better than usual bun trays for encouraging your Yorkie puds to rise!).
But as anyone worth their salt will tell you, the real key to a great Yorkshire pudding is the oil/fat. And the two things you need to remember are quality and heat. For the best possible results use beef dripping, goose fat or lard (or a good quality oil – note olive oil does not get hot enough for Yorkshire puddings). Pour oil into each of your muffin trays and put in the oven to heat. The oil/fat must be smoking hot before you’re ready to put your batter in. When the oven has reached 200 degrees and the oil/fat is smoking, pour your batter into the tray and place back in the over as quickly as possible. Leave to cook for 20-25mins, turning the tray only once mid-way through cooking. Resist the urge to open the oven door any more than this, as keeping the heat in and letting the batter do its thing is key to watching your Yorkshire puds rise before your eyes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and serve immediately.
As a Bon Viveur I am intrigued by the creation of great food so asked Steve a few questions on how he became a chef and related matters.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? When did you decide to become a chef?
Started in the industry at 15 years old and decided this was the industry for me. Through a combination of hard work and a love of food, I had my first Head Chef position at the age of 20. My past experience had ranged from country house hotels, Rosette restaurants, Gastro Pubs and Conference/City Centre hotels. Most notable highlights include working as Head Chef on board VIP flights and owning a village pub in the Eden Valley for 3 years. All of this has contributed to the diverse range of food that I am proud to serve at The Royal York today.
How did you end up as Executive chef of the prestigious Royal York hotel?
I actually held the position of Exec Chef here in 2003, before leaving to buy the pub in Eden Valley. After 3 years my wife and I took the decision to move back to York, so sold the pub and returned to the Royal York initially on a freelance basis before taking up the position of Executive Chef once again.
What makes a good chef? What makes a great chef?
Obviously being able to cook helps! But much of the technique can be acquired. A depth and range of knowledge is important, but that comes with time. I think being open to learning from and sharing your own knowledge with others is key. To run a kitchen, certainly the ability to keep calm under pressure and take control is important. But to be a truly great chef, that comes from nothing other than a love of food, a love of ingredients, flavour and the inquisitiveness to try new things, new combinations, new recipes. A great chef doesn’t just cook for other people, a great chef cooks for the satisfaction of cooking, for the thrill of creation.
What is your favourite starter?
Mussels in their shell, cooked with thai spices and coconut milk for a completely different take on seafood.
Being a Yorkshireman, I’m a lover of hearty dishes. I’d go for “proper” locally sourced Cumberland sausages, buttery mashed potato with roasted red onions and sage gravy any day of the week!
A creamy, smooth Vanilla Crème Brulee with a perfectly crisped sugar-lid and a zesty orange shortbread for contrast.
Mmmm Yumm. We will be returning to Steve’s kitchen!
- Malton Food Lovers Festival 2011 promises a great tasting weekend! (maltonfoodfestival.co.uk)
- Vegan Yorkshire Pudding (veggielover99.wordpress.com)