A Toad or a Frog By Any Other Name

The British Classic Toad in the Hole

After several posts filled with practical dinner ideas, it felt like I should be bringing you a decadent dessert this week, but I’m afraid there’s something very large standing in the way of baking right now.

This is one of those giant salad bowls that comes with its own stand.

A very large bowl of leftover Halloween treats that keeps calling my name. I’m not sure how I ended up on a first-name basis with these little troublemakers, but I’m thinking of changing my name.  How about Helga? Yes, I think that might work . . .

Which brings me back to the practical dinner ideas, as the last thing that I need right now is more calorie-laden desserts.

In my recent blog travels, I stumbled upon this intriguing dish called Toad in the Hole, made my British mate Emma over at her blog Food, Fork & Good. (She has a lovely blog, which I highly recommend you check out.) In North America and Australia (thanks Ali!) , Toad in the Hole (aka Frog in the Hole) is something completely different —  it is bread with an egg in the centre cooked in butter or oil (also called Egg in the Basket).  

However, across the pond (pun intended!), it is a traditional dish that combines two British favourites: sausages and yorkshire pudding. The sausages are cooked in a yorkshire pudding batter that puffs up around the sausages. I understand that it is usually served with onion gravy, veggies and mash.

So, while this isn’t exactly a low-calorie dish, I did lighten it up by using half-the-fat pork sausages and one percent milk. I modified the original recipe by keeping the onions on the side, as this ensures that the dish will appeal to the under five foot crowd.

As I’ve never made or eaten this before, I’m not sure if it turned out perfectly, but the yorkshire did puff up and it was very tasty. It was in fact a hit with the entire family, including my youngest ponytail’s buddy and my mom who joined us for dinner.

Toad in the Hole

Serves 4.

Recipe from Emma at Food, Fork & Good

  • 4-6 good quality sausages (English-style bangers or mild italian sausages)
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 1 cup flour (125 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Just under 1-1/4 cup milk + 2 tbsp water (just under 1/2 a UK pint)
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 onion + 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions

  • Cook your sausages and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 425°
  • Prepare carmelized onions: add onions, honey and balsamic vinegar to a pan that has your slightly heated olive oil. Saute for 10 to 15 minutes until nicely carmelized. Set aside.
  • Sift flour, salt and sage together in a medium bowl. Make a well in the flour and add the eggs to it.
  • Add 1/4 of the milk mixture and mix well. Gradually add the remaining milk mixture and whisk until smooth (I used my magic whisk).  Let the mixture stand for at least 15 minutes before using.
  • While the mixture is standing, add grapeseed oil or olive oil to a 10″ skillet or 9″ x 11″ glass dish and pop into the oven for 10-12 minutes until oil is hot (or olive oil is smoking).
  • Carefully add sausage to the hot skillet/baking dish (the hot oil will likely spit, so be careful), then pour the flour mixture over the sausages.
  • Place into the oven for 25-30 minutes until the pudding has risen and is nicely browned. DO NOT OPEN DOOR!

NOTES:

  • I got my conversions wrong, in that I did the 1/2 pint coversion for the US pint (16 fl. oz) and not the UK pint (20 fl oz) when I made mine. I’ve corrected this in the recipe above. Perhaps my yorkshire would have puffed up a bit more with the correct amount of milk (1-1/4 cups milk rather than the 1 cup milk that I used).
  • I’ve added an extra egg white to the recipe, as one of Emma’s tips is that extra egg whites add height to the yorkshire.
  • I used 1 tsp rather than 1 tbsp of sage, to appeal to a younger crowd.
  • I’ve added balsamic vinegar to the onions to take the flavour up a notch.
  • I used grapeseed oil for the yorkshire pudding because it has a higher heat threashold.
  • Apparently if you open the oven door, your yorkshire will deflate!
  • For more tips on making Yorkshire Pudding, please see Emma’s post.
  • I used this chart for the flour conversion. Let me know if I’ve got this wrong …since I’m always nervous with the conversions!