The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has ordained that a Yorkshire pudding is not in fact a Yorkshire pudding if it's less than four inches tall, and has issued the definitive recipe for the traditional pud so aficionados can bake 'em up just like granny used to.
The judgement came in response to an SOS from Brit expat Ian Lyness, now living in Boulder, Colorado, who was having a spot of bother with his puds. He explained: "I use batter mix that I pick up on my trips back to Blighty and my mum's old Pyrex dish. Perhaps the secret is to make them as she, as a true Yorkshirewoman, did. I try to follow in her steps.
"I do not go for the silly little ones on the plate with everything else, but a traditional, big long pudding which she always served as a separate first course with gravy before the roast beef, lamb or whatever. Coleman's English mustard is also essential accompaniment, I find.
"But I have been struggling badly here. On Sundays from my kitchen window here I can enjoy the sight of rearing snow-capped mountains but on my plate there are apologetic little hillocks."
An RSC nationwide appeal for feedback on the perfect pud resulted in the 10-cm minimum standard, while chemical scientist and author John Emsley, of Yorkshire, noted that wannabe pud chefs had to consider the hard science of successful pud-making to achieve that optimum figure.
He said: "I have seen many grim results from people who have tried to get their Yorkshires to rise. They frequently made gross errors. After all, cooking is chemistry in the kitchen and one has to have the correct formula, equipment and procedures. To translate the ingredients into chemical terms, these are carbohydrate + H2O + protein + NaCl + lipids."
He added: "Some amateurs even place the batter in the fridge first. What kind of foolish act is that?"
The RSC invited Emsley to submit his definitive pud recipe (see below), but he warned that it probably wouldn't make much difference to those not fortunate enough to have been born and bred in Yorkshire. He provocatively explained: "It's in the blood and instinct of people born and raised there. You can always tell from the look and taste if the cook has the right touch and it is almost pitiful to observe the stuff that comes from some southern ovens - flat, pale and soggy much of the time." ®
The Royal Society of Chemistry Yorkshire Pudding
Tablespoon and a half of plain flour.
Half milk, half water to make a thin batter.
Half a teaspoon of salt.
Put flour in a bowl, make a well in the middle, add the egg, stir until the two are combined then start gradually adding the milk and water combining as you go.
Add the liquid until the batter is a smooth and thin consistency.
Stir in half teaspoon of salt and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Put beef dripping into Yorkshire pudding tins or into one large tin but don't use too much fat.
Put into hot oven until the fat starts to smoke.
Give the batter a final stir and pour into the tin or tins.
Place in hot oven until well risen - should take 10 to 15 minutes.