Nick asked me the other night to tell him my favourite thing to eat. Choose one thing? Who am I to say that a beautifully roasted duck breast and a chewy, buttery lobster tail aren’t equally worthy, or that peanut butter cookies, wonton soup, Filet-o-Fish sandwiches, or beet carpaccio aren’t equal and each distinguished in their own right? I couldn’t pick one. But, if I had to pick a favourite thing to eat in the morning, it would be Toad in the Hole – Yorkshire pudding with sausages and onions baked in, all fluffy and crispy and meaty. Yorkshire pudding on its own is pretty fantastic.
So Nick got me thinking about my favourite things, and among my favourite things: Yorkshire pudding. Right. I believe we established that. A few weeks ago, we made a brunch date with two lovely friends, Aimee and Evani, and so while planning a mid-day stat-holiday feast, visions of puffed batter were dancing about in my head.
I had two savoury dishes on the menu already – tortilla with cucumber and avocado salsa, and “potato stuff,” which is a genius of a thing that comes from every kitchen of every person I’ve ever met’s mother (1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1 cup sour cream, 2 cups grated orange cheddar cheese – don’t use white, it turns out gross-looking, and most of a bag of hashbrowns, stirred together and baked covered in a Corningware dish for 30 minutes at 450°F). So, no Toad.
Ooh! I forgot to mention – I bought some lovely fresh free-range happy-UBC-farm-chicken eggs the other day, so I had another reason to make something Yorkshire-puddingy.
Anyway, so I thought – why not add a bit of sugar and top them with a warm raspberry-lemon compote and way too much whipped cream? It turns out such a thing already exists and has a name (with or without any version or variation of the compote or anything else) – and it’s a fairly awesome name at that – who doesn’t love joking about eating babies?! “I can’t think of a better use for them!” “Hahaha!” Ahem. You want the recipe? Of course you do. It’s quite simple/excellent/fun to make fun of babies.
I scraped a little bit of vanilla bean into mine, because I have some (though, since Nick tossed the lid to the container during a mad clean-freak sweep of the kitchen, they may all dehydrate before long). You can use a teaspoon-or-so of vanilla extract if you’ve got it. Almond extract or a little maple syrup would also probably be quite tasty.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 vanilla bean
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Butter six ramekins and place them on a baking sheet, and toss them into the oven.
In a single bowl, combine your flour, milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. You used the butter to grease your ramekins, remember? Don’t worry. You won’t need it again. Work quickly, whipping everything together – make sure you don’t leave lumps. If your vanilla bean refuses to spread out and act normal, go in manually – use your fingers to separate the blobbies – that’s what they’ll look like: little black blobs, sort of like frogs’ eggs, but less gross.
When your batter is ready, pull the ramekins out of the oven and divvy the batter up between them. This recipe makes just enough for six. When the batter’s in, put it all back into the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. Monitor their cooking via the oven light: You are not allowed to open the oven door until they are done. They will go flat, and then your brunch guests will not be as impressed.
When they come out of the oven, don’t wait too long to serve them. Drizzle them with a bit of sauce, and serve with whipped cream. For my raspberry sauce, I used two cups of frozen raspberries and the zest and juice of one lemon, reduced until the mixture was thick and nearly jammy in texture – I started them in a pot over medium-low heat about an hour before I had to serve everything, and didn’t watch them too closely, just stirred them occasionally.
I was quite pleased with the way these turned out – I think the eggs were really what made them. The yolks were a fantastic golden colour, and imbued the Babies with a very springy yellow hue. I wish I had a camera to show you! I will get one soon, I promise. And then I’ll make them again, and post pictures, and you’ll be all, “wow, those are lovely. It’s a good thing she’s a baker and not a breeder, because her real life Dutch babies (well, half-Dutch, which is funny, because she’d totally have gone Dutch on the genes for those whippersnappers) would probably not be nearly as good-looking.”
I wonder if it’s necessary to mention that brunch means you can get drunk during the day without everyone shouting “ALCOHOLIC!” and pointing at you. Nap time!
UPDATE: Toad in the Hole is shown on This is why you’re fat. Goddamn it.