Batter puddings are created by dropping the batter into the fat drippings of roasting meat. Each region of the British Isles has its own variation of a batter pudding. When meat was hard to come by, a batter pudding was used to supplement the meal. Some are savoury, and some are sweet. In 1737 the recipe for ‘A dripping pudding’ was first published in The Whole Duty of a Woman:
“Make a good batter as for pancakes; put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton, instead of a dripping pan, keeping frequently shaking it by the handle and it will be light and savoury, and fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it in a dish and serve it hot.”
The most well known batter pudding, the “Yorkshire pudding” or “Yorkie”, appeared ten years later in a cook book by Hannah Glasse in her book Art of Cookery. Glasse’s recipe read as follows:
“Take a quart of milk, four eggs, and a little salt, make it up into a thick batter with flour, like pancake batter. You must have a good piece of meat at the fire; take a stew-pan and put some dripping in, set it on the fire; when it boils, pour in your pudding; let it bake on the fire till you think it is nigh enough, then turn a plate upside down in the dripping-pan, that the dripping may not be blacked; set your stew-pan on it under your meat, and let the dripping drop on the pudding, and the heat of the fire come to it, to make it of a fine brown. When your meat is done and sent to table, drain all the fat from your pudding, and set it on the fire again to dry a little; then slide it as dry as you can into a dish; melt some butter, and pour it into a cup, and set it in the middle of the pudding. It is an excellent good pudding; the gravy of all the meat eats well with it.”
Here’s the recipe that I use for Yorkshire Pudding:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup beef drippings or vegetable oil
Beat the eggs into the milk. Make a well in the flour in a large bowl and stir in the egg mixture until just combined. Refrigerate the batter for at least an hour. Heat oven to 425 F (220 C). Put drippings of roast and/or some vegetable oil in an oven proof 13 X 10 inch pan in the oven. When the oil or drippings begin to smoke (about 5 minutes), put the cold batter in the pan and bake 25 to 30 minutes.
You can check out all of the other variations on batter pudding recipes as well as many other ancient recipes in my new Smashwords e book: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens.