Vickery to celebrate glories of the Yorkshire Pudding

COPYRIGHT PICTURE BY DALE CHERRY 23/04/2009'Chef Phil Vickery
COPYRIGHT PICTURE BY DALE CHERRY 23/04/2009'Chef Phil Vickery
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TV chef Phil Vickery will be in Leeds to launch National Yorkshire Pudding Week. Catherine Scott reports.

Phil Vickery admits he was a bit bemused when he was asked to become the face of the first National Yorkshire Pudding Week.

“I did say that I wasn’t from Yorkshire but they didn’t seem to mind and at the end of the day I love cooking and eating Yorkshire Pudding so I was more than happy to accept.”

And he is hoping that Yorkshire people will give him their support when he travels to Leeds on Tuesday to celebrate the legendary dish at the White Rose Shopping Centre.

The idea of celebrating the Yorkshire Pudding is the idea of Hull-based food company Aunt Bessie’s who produce 20,000 ready to eat Yorkshire Puddings every week.

“I have no trouble with the fact that Aunt Bessie’s make Yorkshire Puddings. They are difficult things to get right and so many people just don’t have the time or the ability to make them properly.

“There’s no doubt that Yorkshire puddings are enshrined in the minds of people all over Britain, and the rest of the world, as the traditional accompaniment to roast beef, but I want to show their versatility as the basis for mid-week meals all-year-round.

“They are simply delicious and their crispy texture and golden colour lend themselves to starters, main courses and a host of gorgeous desserts.”

Phil, who is married to television presenter Fern Britton, says: “If you say roast beef to anyone they will say Yorkshire Pudding – the two just go together. Wherever you go everyone loves Yorkshire Puddings. I was in America recently and cooked then for friends who thought they were fantastic.”

He says that he has often got into heated debates with French chefs who claim to have invented the Yorkshire pudding themselves. But Phil likes to believe the story that Hannah Glasse comes up with the name Yorkshire Pudding in 1747.

When wheat flour began to come into common use for making cakes and puddings, cooks in the North of England devised a means of making use of the fat that dropped into the dripping pan to cook a batter pudding while the meat roasted.

Due to the feud between the House of York and House of Lancaster in 1455, there is a proverb which says: “When placed in a Lancashire oven, a Yorkshire Pudding will never rise”.

It’s traditionally claimed that the purpose of the dish was to provide a cheap way to fill the diners – the Yorkshire pudding being much cheaper than the other constituents of the meal.

The Yorkshire pudding was traditionally served first, although Phil says he has never had it this way.

There is also a lot of debate about how to make the best Yorkshire Puddings,

Phil’s secret is four medium eggs, one pint of milk and half a pound of flour. He then puts half a cm of the mixture into hot fat.

“I put them into a 200 degree oven and then immediately turn them down to 180 degrees,” says Phil. “And then cook them for about 25 to 30 minutes.”

* The biggest Yorkshire Pudding in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records had an area of 46.46m² and was made by the Skipton Round Table Society in 1996

* The world record for most Yorkshire puddings eaten in one sitting is 400

* The largest simultaneous roast dinner with Yorkshire Puddings was hosted by the East England Agricultural Society in Peterborough on February 22, 2009, where 1,632 people attended.

* Phil Vickery will be at the White Rose Centre, Leeds on Tuesday from 11am until 2.30pm. For more information on National Yorkshire Pudding Week go to www.auntbessies.co.uk