You are viewing this website with an old browser please update to a newer version of Internet Explorer here.

Nancy B’s Guide to the Perfect… Batter

Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, the Yorkshire Pudding is the don of roast trimmings. Nancy B shares her five tips for the perfect ‘Yorkshire’ batter…

When I heard about Bake Off’s newest challenge, Batter Week, I instantly thought of fish and chips. But my mind soon moved on to other tasty treats, including drop scones, pancakes, crêpes and, most importantly for me, Yorkshire puddings.

Being a Yorkshire lass, I can tell you with confidence what makes a good ‘Yorkshire’. Traditionally served before the main course (in order to fill you up so you ate less meat) the Yorkshire pudding was baked in a shallow 7.5cm tin, yielding four puddings. Although not a pudding in the sweet sense, as children we did have leftover Yorkshire pudding with treacle and jam as a treat!

The finished beauties are well risen, crisp on the outside, medium golden brown, with a light, soft middle – and are utterly delicious. I am surprised at how many people buy Yorkshire puddings because shop-bought ones are usually hard and over-baked. Make them yourself and you’ll never buy them again.

Ingredient: Dripping all the way

Think about your choice of fat for the puddings: some recipes call for oil but I say beef dripping. Flour is always plain flour, salt is simple table salt, and I prefer ground white pepper for seasoning – it has much better distribution. For the liquid ingredients: egg, of course, then half whole milk and half water.

Technique: Like it or lump it

Mixing is probably the most important part of making batter, and lumps will just not do. After sifting the flour and seasonings into a roomy bowl, make a well in the centre and add the egg. Use a fork to bring them together then add the milk and water little by little until the consistency is that of single cream. As a guide, the batter should coat the back of a wooden spoon. To get rid of any lumps, either blitz with a hand blender or pass through a sieve. Then transfer the batter to a jug and leave in the fridge for at least two hours – or even overnight.

Style: The perfect rise

If your Yorkshire puddings don’t rise properly, this is usually because the fat in the tin was not hot enough when the batter was added. Here’s how to get it right: add one teaspoon of fat to each tin, then place in the top half of a very hot oven until the fat is smoking. Take the batter from the fridge and give it another stir, adding a little more water as the batter will have thickened up. Then remove your tins from the oven and immediately pour in the batter, about three-quarters of the way up. It’s much easier if you use a jug as there will be fewer drips, which when left will burn into little black bullets.

Common problems: Sinking pudding

If your Yorkshire puddings rise beautifully in the oven but then collapse, this is a sign that they needed to be baked for longer. Puddings cooked in a 12-hole muffin tin will take 25 minutes at 225°C. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door before your time is up as they will drop. If you have a glass oven door though, you can watch your Yorkshires grow before your very eyes! If your puddings come out heavy and doughy, this is an indication that the batter was too thick in consistency and there was probably not enough fat in the tin.

New twist on a retro classic: Finger food

Yorkshires puddings are usually served alongside traditional Sunday roast – and who doesn’t love toad-in-the-hole? But these days they’re also baked in a 12-hole muffin tin, filled with a range of savoury goodies, and served as nibbles and canapés. The very best Yorkshires are served fresh but they reheat well so it is always worth having a few in the freezer. My grandmother’s recipe for the best Yorkshires is on my website – make double the mixture to fill a 12-hole muffin tin. And keep that tin just for Yorkshire Puddings. After each bake, I give mine a wipe with a damp cloth and save it for next time.

@nancybbakes won Great British Bake Off 2014. Since then she’s travelled from Cornwall to The Shetland Isles, baking and entertaining fans.

Learn more about her food and her travels on her blog.