Ah-HA! You thought that on October 13, National Yorkshire Pudding Day meant that you would be able to enjoy some tasty, creamy, custard-y pudding, like so many other national food holidays before. Well, you were wrong! Those Brits can certainly be tricky sometimes 😛 Most of the time, the term “pudding” doesn’t mean the slurpy, goopy, gelatinous dairy dessert that Bill Cosby used to shill; in Britain, it can mean a savory dish that doesn’t have to be custard-y or mousse-y. Black pudding, for instance, is a breakfast sausage made from congealed blood! (So don’t get confused when you see pudding on the menu for your English breakfast!) But fear not: the savory Yorkshire pudding isn’t made with blood of any kind, and isn’t a sausage disguised as a pudding. No, Yorkshire pudding is a fluffy yet dense muffin-like food that’s historically made with fat drippings of roated meat. Sound delicious yet? 😛 The first recipe for Yorkshire pudding was published in the 18th century, which explained that making up a batter and leaving it under a roasting mutton or other meat to catch all of the fat and grease cooking off it, so as not to waste a drop. Nowadays, Yorkshire pudding isn’t too often made with lard, and instead is a big, fluffy muffin made from a batter of milk, flour, and eggs. (Personally, I find modern puddings to be a bit bland; add in the pork fat, I say!)
You won’t find any authentic Yorkshire puddings sold in New York these days–much less an historical accurate, meaty, fatty one, lol–but you can get really close to the real thing with American popovers. The recipe for Yorkshire pudding came over with the colonists in the 18th century and was modified to work best in the new American environment, using local ingredients like fresh herbs, blueberries and pumpkin puree. Baked in muffin tins, they’re usually smaller than Yorkshire puddings, which are baked individually in creme brulée ramekins, so they’re monsters of a pudding! You’ll find popovers the size of true Yorkshire puddings over at BLT Steak on 57th Street. They don’t have any fancy herbs or fruits packed into them, but what they do have is a good helping of soft, warm flavor, the egg within the batter making the popover feel like a custard just exploded in the oven–and that’s a good thing! These bad boys aren’t sweet like muffins, but savory like their Yorkshire predecessors–and topped with grated Gruyere cheese to boot. And the popovers aren’t even the main meal: they’re what you order before all of your steak and other meaty goods come to the table. They’re perfect for breaking apart and sopping up all those delicious juices from your steak so you don’t miss a modicum of flavor here. And if you end up loving these popovers so much, the restaurant offers you the recipe with each order, so you can have them any time you want–and you can add the touch of lard if you so choose 😉
106 E 57th St (between Lexington Ave & Park Ave)
“First, the chef prepares the ground with a barrage of giant popovers—steaming Yorkshire puddings as big as elephant knuckles, and weighted on their tops with crusts of Gruyère cheese.”–New York Magazine
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“This is one of the few places in the City that serve popovers, the Yorkshire pudding’s big headed cousin from the states. Its like a donut, but sort of pancake-y, I beleive its bread with an eggy/yolky interior, served with grated cheese or butter. Each diner gets thier own huge popever. I enjoyed breaking it in half and eating its moist, eggy interior and leaving the crust for my fellow stalking, scavengy diners (who couldnt wait to finish it for me).”–Tricia K.
“And the popovers…HOLY YUM! One of my favorite things every Christmas is Yorkshire pudding (basically popovers in a big pan with the addition of drippings from roast beef) so I was excited to get these. Cheesy (gruyere I believe) popover goodness.”–Karen C.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!