We use Heston Blumenthal’s recipes to create Toad in the Hole and Bread and Butter pudding recipes – two classic British dishes. The perfect cheap and cheerful double-bill
We’ve always thought Heston Blumenthal’s best recipes are the classic British ones. Forget his daft ice creams and porridges, we think his best work is the Sunday Lunch stuff you can make at home (and his recipes are usually long-winded enough that you need a free weekend to make them).
Considering just how many classic and historical English dishes Heston has tackled over the years, and given his love of reinventing neglected dishes, we’re surprised we’ve not once seen a Heston Toad in the Hole recipe. Or even a Heston Blumenthal Yorkshire Pudding recipe. I mean, they must serve something alongside roast beef at the Hind’s Head, right?
That was until one his recent Channel 4 TV series (called “Heston’s Marvellous Magical Meals”, or summat equally generic). One of the shows focused on the classic British Roast Beef dinner, and Channel 4 were kind enough to put a Heston-approved Yorkshire Pudding batter recipe on their website to tie in with the episode.
With this recipe, a little help from the Guardian’s Felicity Cloake, (and some sausages leftover from Heston’s In Search of Perfection Bangers & Mash recipe) we reckon we can make a quick, easy and satisfyingly delicious Heston Blumenthal Toad in the Hole recipe.
For this cheap and cheerful Sunday Lunch we’ll need a suitable dessert. What better choice than Heston’s Golden Syrup Bread & Butter Pudding recipe, a recent addition to his Waitrose recipe collection.
These are two very easy Heston Blumenthal recipes. A pleasant change from our recent expeditions into Heston’s Perfection recipes.
Recipes: Heston’s Yorkshire Pudding Batter recipe for Toad in the Hole, Heston’s Golden Syrup Bread and Butter Pudding recipe
Special Equipment: None
Special Ingredients: None
Time: 2 – 3 hours
Step 1: Batter Mix
Dead easy, just mix milk, flour and eggs. About 50g of flour and 52g of milk per large egg. This makes a very runny batter.
Heston would like this rested in the fridge for a good 4 hours, but we think 2 hours will do just fine if you’re pushed for time.
Step 2: Frying the Sausages
A tip from Felicity Cloake, this ensures your bangers will have a gorgeously crisp skin (the batter and moist air keeps them pale and flaccid otherwise)
Step 3: Baking the Toad in the Hole
Add groundnut oil to whatever tray you’re using and put it in a 180°C oven until it is absolutely smoking hot (about 5 minutes should do).
Very quickly add the batter – don’t stop to take pictures (Whoops!). And don’t overfill the baking pan. (Double whoops!)
Bake for 25 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
Serve how you like it. We had carrots, shredded cabbage and a homemade version of the Waitrose’s Caramelised Onion, Bacon and Mustard gravy (which was a lot harder to make than either of our two main Heston recipes).
Step 4: Making the Golden Syrup Custard
Making custard from scratch used to fill me with dread. But, like anything, once you’ve done it a few times it gets much easier.
Heston being Heston, he does try to complicate the process, but not by much. Start by whisking eggs and a bit of unrefined caster sugar until pale and frothy.
Meanwhile heat a mixture of milk, double cream and couple of teaspoons of golden syrup on the stove.
Once warm (about 50°C if you’re counting) add to the whisked egg yolks.
Tip all this back into the pan and heat to 70°C, holding that temp for about 5 minutes.
Leave the custard to one side until needed. You can press clingfilm onto the surface to prevent a skin forming.
Step 5: Soaking the Fruit
The currants for this recipe need to be left to soak in rum for an hour. If you’re not a fan of boozy desserts we reckon you could use Earl Grey tea (though, like Mark over at the fantastic Michelin Microwave, we’ve yet to find a Heston from Waitrose Earl Grey dish that actually tastes of Earl Grey).
Step 6: Soaking the Brioche
Most of Heston’s Waitrose recipes are thinly-disguised excuses to buy items from his pricey supermarket range. This bread and butter pudding is no exception, being a shill for Heston’s Hot Cross Buns.
Fruit brioche fingers from our local Asda might not have the same delicate and subtle falvours, but they make a close enough substitute.
Carve these into cubes, then soak in the custard for about 20 minutes.
Step 7: Baking the Bread and Butter Pudding
Once the brioche cubes have had time to absorb the custard and the raisins have soaked up the rum carefully spoon the lot into ramekins (or just one big dish, if you want it to be a more communal affair).
Bake for 25 minutes at 140°C. This should be enough to cook the pudding but still leave you with a deliciously silky texture, rather than a foamy over-baked one.
Leave to rest for a few minutes, then sprinkle with sugar and caramelise under the grill or with a blow torch before serving (be careful for this last bit, it’s easy to burn the corners of the bread cubes).
Both these dishes turned out really well.
The sausages could’ve benefitted from a little extra frying to really crisp up those skins (or, horror, deep frying for true snappy crispness) and I added a bit too much batter to the pan, leading to an unexpectedly thick and heavy Yorkshire base. We probably needed an extra 5 or 10 minutes of cooking, too.
Bu those are all calibration issues, next time will be even better.
For a first attempt, and given that we’re really just taking a few odds and ends of other recipes and winging with them, we think was a marvellous success.
The bread and butter pudding was another triumph. The alcohol cooks out of the rum, so we didn’t suffer the harshness of it from our cheapo booze-for-cooking-with. The real standout feature is the silky-smooth custard. Still liquid, it gives the pudding a gorgeous texture and mouthfeel. The golden syrup flavour was only very subtle, but if you’re a fan of the taste then you’ll find it improves this dish no end.
Most of the Heston Blumenthal recipes we tackle tend to be his perfection ones – longwinded, difficult and expensive. To find two Heston recipes that are this simple, cheap and delicious was a magnificent treat. If only they could all be like this.
Both these dishes were so successful that we’re bound to repeat them. If we did we’d probably do the following:
- Fry the sausages longer and more thoroughly to ensure a truly crispy skin
- Add less batter to the pan
- Cook slightly longer
We also think the bread and butter pudding has potential for you to play around with it. Add more golden syrup, vanilla seeds, earl grey custard? There’s all sorts of possibilities.
Would you try these dishes, or do you have a simple go-to Heston recipe that you’ve always found successful? Please let us know in the comments section.