Yorkshire puddings were originally called Dripping Puddings and did of course hail from Yorkshire.
Meat would be roasted on a spit with a normal drippings tray being underneith to catch the fat and juices, cooks would place their batter mix on the tray and as the batter cooked it was flavoured and coloured by those precious drippings.
In 1737 this Dripping Pudding recipe was featured in a book called The Whole Duty Of A Woman, can you imagine a book with that title being about today!
In 1747 Hannah Glasse who was the Nigella of her day wrote The Art Of Cooking Made Plain And Simple and renamed this as the Yorkshire Pudding. The rest, as they say is history!
In 2008 the Royal Society of Chemistry decreed that a Yorkshire pudding must be 4" tall to use that name.
Traditionally Yorkshire puddings are made in a big shallow baking dish as one big pudding which is then cut into squares and served.
Making them in muffin tins for separate puddings is a relatively new thing.
Yorkshire puddings are still sometimes eaten in the traditional way in Yorkshire. The Yorkshire pudding is served before the meat course with the rich gravy. Then the meat (usually roast beef) is served with vegetables and either a parsley or white sauce. After eating the Yorkshire pudding first people don't really need as much meat for the main course so this cunning plan makes the expensive meat go further.
LET'S MAKE YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS!
140g plain flour
4 eggs (free range please)
sunflower oil to grease tins
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 230C/Gas 8 and pour a little of the sunflower oil into the base of a 12 hole muffin tin
Place tin in hot oven for 10 minutes till oil is very hot
Mix together the flour, milk, eggs and seasoning with a whisk so there are no lumps
Let it sit for a few minutes
Very carefully pour equal quantities of the batter into the hot muffin tin (it should hiss when the batter hits the hot oil)
Bake in oven for 2--25 minutes till golden brown and all puffed up
Serve hot with gravy