My mother loved going to the Original Pancake House for one simple reason: her craving for a Dutch Baby. I took her there for lunch at least once a week and I bet Dad took her once a week for dinner. Her appetite as she got older was negligible, but she could put an entire Dutch Baby away- no problem- and I promise you they are colossal. I never understood how she did it. Some people like apples, fruit jams or even syrup on top, but purists like my mother just want confectioner’s sugar and a fresh lemon to squeeze over everything. The batter is about as simple as it gets… equal parts flour and milk with eggs, whipped smooth but not too fluffy. It's then poured into a cast iron skillet over melted butter and stuck into a hot oven.
Another twist on this recipe is the English version called Yorkshire Pudding. Everyone knows about Yorkshire Pudding; the British love it with their roast beef. It’s basically the same batter as a Dutch Baby- eggs, milk and flour. The British use the roast beef pan drippings for flavor. Then after the roast is cooked and while you are letting it settle, you have your batter ready, pour it over the roast beef drippings, stick it in a hot oven and voila! You have Yorkshire Pudding. If gravy was made with some of the drippings, you can also pour gravy on top. It is delicious.
Basically, the same batter is used for popovers. Doesn’t everyone love a popover? Neiman Marcus is famous for serving one with every meal- always accompanied by strawberry butter. It’s worth having lunch there just to enjoy one of their popovers.
I have a recipe from an old cookbook entitled No-Fail Popovers where you put the batter in a cold oven then turn the heat on. It works too. I used to serve them for luncheons. Everyone was so impressed. If your oven has a glass insert, your kids will have fun watching the popovers puff up.
The very same batter that is used in both popovers and Yorkshire Pudding is also used in a Dutch Baby; but as I previously mentioned, butter is used in the pan instead of beef pan drippings. Rather than a savory, it is a sweet. Mother loved popovers too (she couldn’t wait to have one at Neiman Marcus) but for some reason she never made them at home.
I bring all this up because frequently Mother did cook something which she referred to as Yorkshire Pudding and Sausage. I have no idea where she found the recipe, but it obviously was a favorite with her- it sure was with the rest of us. In fact, it's a treat for all Yorkshire Pudding and popover lovers. In fact, if you are British you have another name for this particular dish: Toad in the Hole.
Mother’ s recipe uses sausage (the “toads”) for flavor. I prefer bulk sausage but have used links as well; I just don’t think links are as flavorful- or perhaps they don’t produce as much in the drippings department. Or perhaps I am buying the wrong kind. However I think links are prettier to the eye - as in the photo below. (I even tried bacon once instead of sausage- no doubt I didn't have sausage in the fridge and must have been longing to make the dish- but I didn’t like it nearly as well.) I can think of any number of things you could add to this recipe if you want to be inventive- scallions, mushrooms- but I have always loved it exactly the way it was served to me as a child- with sausages and a touch of Worcestershire sauce for flavor. One more tip: if you have one of those fabulous cast iron skillets, use it- it’s perfect for this dish, but I have made it in other pans with no problem.
I have never tried to make a Dutch Baby with this recipe, eliminating the sausage and Worcestershire and using butter instead of pan drippings. Oddly enough, considering how she loved them, neither did my mother. But I see no reason why you couldn’t try it if you love Dutch Babies as much as Mother did. As far as I am concerned, Yorkshire Pudding and Sausage should be served for dinner while Dutch Babies are a breakfast or lunch dish.I bet you have all the ingredients in your refrigerator so if you are looking for an easy dinner, try it tonight. I have to confess, this is way up there on my comfort food list!
Yorkshire Pudding and Sausage
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
bulk sausage- whichever brand you prefer, or links
Method:Preheat oven to 400°.
Slice the sausage and fry in a large oven proof frying pan. Leave a generous coating of the sausage oil in the pan along with the sausage.
Beat the eggs with milk and flour until smooth. Add the Worcestershire sauce and a dash of salt. Pour everything over the sausage and place in the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes; keep checking. It will puff up like a popover. Serves 4.