Yorkshire Puddings or Popovers--Which is Which?

Crisp and deep golden brown on the outside, almost hollow with eggy bits of soft dough clinging to the inside of the crust, Yorkshire Puddings or Popovers are a treat any time of the year.  Serve them as a dinner bread or as a pastry at breakfast. 

And the debate rages on--  Preheated cups or bake cold, butter or oil, muffin pans or popover pans, and the biggest one of all-- YORKSHIRE PUDDING or POPOVERS!  Who knew there would be such controversy over what is basically an eggy muffin?  I never worried about it until I decided to write this blog post.  I'm just trying to preserve a few family recipes along with some of my favourite finds and because they will be perpetuated for long after I'm gone I want the reader to be able to make a reasonable facsimilie of the recipe presented.  I don't want some future great-grandchild looking at this recipe and wondering what great-grandmother Gill was doing calling these "Popovers" or vice-versa "Yorkshire Pudding".  So I'm calling them both and I'll try to explain to the best of my ability what I think the difference is as far as I'm concerned.  (And, really, I'm not that concerned about the name if they taste as good as they look.)

As with any recipe I post I do a little research, if not for the readers, for my own edification.  And I can tell you there is much confusion regarding the name of these wonderful, melt-in-your-mouth Yorkshire Puddings/Popovers.  Many times the name is used interchangeably, but that only confused me more.  (Maybe I'm getting too old for such semantics!)  I was looking for a clear cut definition.  I think I have it figured out and it was just as I had always thought it to be. (Of course!)

Both Yorkshire Pudding and Popovers are made with the same batter.  There are some variations from the basic recipe with additions of herbs or spices or cheese or small amounts of sugar for fancier versions but the basic batter remains almost always unchanged.  

Yorkshire Pudding, traditionally, is poured around a roast of beef and cooks in the beef fat surrounding the roast.  Or alternately beef fat is spooned in individual pans and the Yorkies are baked as single servings.  For healthier or vegetarian Yorkshire Pudding the beef fat is replaced with butter or oil (which is another controversy in the making) and baked that way.  The pans with the fat/oil are preheated before the batter is poured into them.  Yorkshire Pudding is served with the dinner and copious amounts of gravy.

Popovers are always baked in individual pans such as muffin pans or popover pans.  The pans are greased and sometimes floured but there is no large amount of fat used in the pans as there is with the Yorkshire Puddings.  They can be baked in preheated or unheated pans.  Popovers are served at breakfast (or with any meal) piping hot with butter and jam or other breakfast spreads.  

And, yes, they can be used interchangeably, especially if you are using oil instead of beef fat as I do. 

Yorkshire Pudding or Popovers
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt (can increase to ½ teaspoon for Yorkshire Pudding)
Panspray, butter, shortening or oil for pans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  

Beat or whisk eggs until foamy.  Add milk, flour and salt and beat until smooth. You can do this by hand or use a mixer.  Place mixture in 2 cup pourable measuring cup and cover.  Set aside at least 30 minutes. Stir the batter before using.  If not using until later or next day, refrigerate but let it come to room temperature before baking.    

For Yorkshire Puddings:  Pour 1 or 2 teaspoons of oil or oil and butter mixed (butter by itself burns) in each of 8-10 muffin cups or 6 deep custard cups.  Place pans in oven to heat 10-15 minutes before ready to bake.  Remove pans from oven and carefully and evenly fill pans ¾ full.  The batter will sputter when it hits the hot oil.  Place in the preheated oven and bake 20 minutes; reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake an additonal 20 minutes.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR DURING ANY PART OF THE BAKING PROCESS.  Remove from oven and serve with dinner and lots of gravy. 

For Popovers:  Panspray or grease and flour 8-10 muffin cups or 6 deep custard cups.  Fill cups ¾ full and place in preheated oven and bake 20 minutes; reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake an additonal 20 minutes.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR DURING ANY PART OF THE BAKING PROCESS. Remove from oven and serve hot with butter and jam. 

When Yorkshire Puddings/Popovers are removed from the oven a small slit may be made in the top or side to allow steam to escape.  This will keep them a little crisper.  

Makes 8-10 Yorkshire Puddings or Popovers. 

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.  To reheat place in original muffin pans and heat 5 minutes in a 375 degree preheated oven.  Yorkshire Puddings/Popovers may also be frozen and reheated the same way. 

Beat the eggs, add the milk.  Beat in the flour and salt.  The batter should be like a thick cream or crepe batter.  Let the batter rest at least 30 minutes.

Spoon oil into pan for Yorkshire Puddings or grease and flour pans for Popovers.

Preheat the muffin pans with oil if you are making Yorkshire Puddings.  Be careful when pouring the batter into the hot oil as it may spatter.

I used a mixture of oil and butter for the Yorkshire Puddings.  Butter alone will burn.

Yorkshire Puddings on the left and Popovers on the right.  There is very little difference in appearance and none in taste between the two.  The Yorkshire Puddings were baked with a layer of oil in the preheated pans.  The Popovers were baked in cold greased pans.

 Hot from the oven!

Don't they look good?

Light, airy tunnels to catch every bit of gravy or jam and butter.

Eat them any way you want!

Yorkshire Pudding or Popovers will make any meal special.


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