The Yorkshire pudding was the most recent addition to this traditional British meal, serving as a filler during the hard times from the beginning to the middle of the last century. Meat was expensive, and everyone looked forward to eating this delicious roast every week. When England was rationing food during the first World War, the yorkie appeared. From what I've read, it was originally served before the meal, to take up some space in your belly, ensuring that there would be left overs to eat throughout the next week.
Yorkshire pudding is really a biscuit-souffle hybrid. It's predominately egg, and thanks to it's hollow middle, it is a great vehicle for delivering gravy to your mouth. Nowadays, the Yorkies have made it on the plate with the rest of the goods. I really like them, and after trying a few recipes, feel that I found one that really works, which I will share with you now.
To be served with roasted meat
Yields about eight puddings
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp milk
Pre-heat oven to 400º. In a medium size bowl, lightly mix egg and milk with a fork. Whisk in flour until a thick, smooth batter forms. You want the batter to be easy to pour, if it is too thick, add more egg, not milk. Let rest for fifteen minutes to hydrate the flour. Fill muffin pans 1/5 of the way with oil (or fat from the roast), place in hot oven for 10 minutes (should be done while batter is resting). When the oil is starting to look hazy, but not quite smoking, remove muffin tin from the oven, and pour in the batter. If it doesn't sizzle, place the tin back in the oven for a few more minutes. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the puddings rise. If they start to fall when remove, you can put them back in the oven for a few minutes. Pour out excess fat, and fill with gravy/drippings, and serve immediately.
From what I've read about these, if you need to thin the batter, use egg, not milk. You want it to pop. The hot oil will keep the center hollow, and you want them to be browned and crispy, but not too crisp; they should retain some of their chewiness. You can reserve the hot fat to reuse if you like. Happy eating!