Monday, March 03, 2014

Prairie Kitchens - Yorkshire Pudding

As I stand at my kitchen window dreaming of spring, I imagine Sarah Pinder in her kitchen dreaming of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

Sarah and Walter Pinder and their three children were Barr Colonists, among the close to 2,000 English settlers who arrived in Saskatoon in 1903. They were enticed to immigrate by Reverend Isaac Barr, who believed western Canada must remain firmly British, flying the Union Jack, singing "God Save the King" and, no doubt, serving roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for Sunday dinner.

Walter managed to build a small log house on the prairie (most Barr Colonists spent that first winter in tents in Saskatoon and Lloydminster), but he completely underestimated how much food they would need for the winter months. By March, the food was almost gone. Breakfast and supper were a gruel of flour and water, lunch was stewed rabbit, bannock and tea. It was impossible to make bread because the dough froze in the pan. It was that cold, even in the house.

Walter hitched the horses to the sleigh for the long ride to Battleford for supplies. While he was away, coyotes ate the rabbits. Then it was just bannock and gruel. Not a Yorkshire pudding in sight.

By 1911, half the population of Saskatchewan claimed British heritage. Even so, Yorkshire pudding didn't catch on in the same way that more "foreign" dishes did. Think perogies and borscht. Give it a try, and give thanks for a warm house in March. (Cook roast beef and gravy.)

Yorkshire Pudding
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
Vegetable oil

In a blender, combine eggs and milk. Gradually add flour, blending all the while. Blend in salt. Heat oven to 400F. Put 1 tsp vegetable oil in each cup of a muffin tin. Place pan in hot oven until the oil is sizzling. Blend batter again. Quickly pour batter into the muffin tin, a scant 1/4 cup per hole.

Bake 20-25 minutes until puffed and lightly brown. Do not open oven door while baking or the "Yorkies" may deflate. Serve hot with roast beef and gravy.

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(This article first appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.)


Anonymous said...

Very timely! I was just yesterday bemoaning the fact that I seem to have lost my touch with Yorkshires. I think I didn't let the fat get hot enough this time.
. Anyway, I'll try the blender thing and see how it works. I also cook them much hotter. Don't know if that makes a difference.
Sue Brooks City Park neighbour)

Amy Jo Ehman said...

Thanks, Sue. I need to keep practicing my Yorkshires so I'll try with a hotter oven next time.

Anonymous said...

Half of your recipe in the oven as we speak to have with yesterday's leftovers and they're looking much better than my dismal efforts from Sunday. Thanks! Baking them at 450.

Amy Jo Ehman said...


CallingForth said...

Having 'grown up' in Lloydminster and having an English Grandmother who actually immigrated from York, I can claim to have enjoyed many meals which included delicious Yorkshire pudding! Thank you for sharing about it.

Amy Jo Ehman said...

And thank you for sharing that memory, Calling Forth. I'm glad to hear that Yorkies are still alive and well in Lloyd!