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—Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic (Washington
Post)
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Prodigal Toad: Nothing to croak about

This delicious dish, as you can imagine, has nothing to do with greenish amphibians. Toad in the Hole is a classic of English cookery, in which banger-like sausages are set and baked within a large Yorkshire pudding. Kate and I like our Toad with baked beans. If you’re feeling healthy have yours with a salad.
So let’s begin. First you need to make a Prodigal Pudding batter. Instead of pudding pans, though, use a large oval or oblong glass dish that can easily accommodate a half dozen sausages or more. One sausage per person probably suffices but I tend to bake five, so the Prodigal Family can have seconds. You’ll also need four tablespoonfuls of your favorite fat: duck, goose, beef, or canola. And, of course, you need bangers!
I suppose you could use an Italian sausage but I prefer not to. I do deviate from the traditional recipe by using wonderful apple sausages we buy from the Amish market and studing the dish with sautéed apple segments. It’s a bit like have the main course and dessert all rolled into one. Oooh, I am naughty––but you’ll like it!
Making the Toad
First heat the oven to 450F. Add the fat of your choice to the glass dish and pop it into the center of the oven .
Two granny smith type apples need to be cored, peeled, and quartered. Sounds a bit medieval but carry on regardless. Gently saute apples in a little butter. Watch them like a hawk. Once they start to color, sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon then take them off the fire, remove apples but keep handy. Now brown the sausages in the remaining butter. No need to cook through, just make sure they get lightly browned on all sides. Now place sausages, apples, and residual fat into the toad dish, spread the wealth and close the oven door. Remove your Yorkshire batter from the fridge, Re-whisk. After three minutes or so, your glass dish will be smoky hot and the sausages and apples will be ready to receive the enrobing batter.
Open the oven. Warning: don’t pour the batter into the dish tsunami-fashion. If you do, the hot fat will make your sausages and apples slip and slide until they clump together in one unappetizing mass. Not good. You want the batter to moat around all those lovely nibble bits. To accomplish this successfully, I anoint the dish using a ladle, carefully but quickly. The batter mixture will start to set up almost immediately, anchoring the contents throughout the dish. Close the oven door. Cook for 20 minutes at 450F. The sides of the Toad will have risen at this point quite beautifully but the center will not be cooked through. If the bangers are browning too quickly, cover them with a bit of foil. Lower the temperature to 400F and cook for another 15-20 minutes until set.
Here’s how I serve it
When Frances isn’t looking, I purloin the elongated spatula she uses for baking, then slide the Toad onto a nice platter, leaving any excess fat behind in the glass dish.
Do try this grand and surprisingly economical treat. It’s a Prodigal Family favorite and I’m sure if you try it once, it will be a hit with your crew, too.
Enjoy!

11 comments:

willow said...

Interesting! I've never heard of such a thing. Since I'm not a huge fan of yorkshire pudding, I think I'll pass. It does look ever-so-lovely, though.

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Willow, that's so sad! You've got to put those bad pub experiences behind you! This is a totally different animal (ask Frances, she used to say the same thing).

smitten by britain said...

I've heard of Toad in the Hole of course but have never seen it first hand. Thanks for the photo.

Softball Whisperer said...

I love my Dad's Toad in the hole. It's especially good with baked beans and apples. Yummy!!!!

Michelloui said...

Beans ARE healthy, don't need to substitute them with salad!

This looks great. I tried to make this once but my pudding came out soggy and rubbery. Bleh. I love sausages/mash/yorkshires and peas at our local pub. When I first moved to the Uk this was very Yuck, but now its great comfort food--come in from a wintry walk and order the bangers and mash...yum. Although in our family we have Orcshires with our sausages. Identical in every way to Yorkshires except the small members of the family can say the word more easily.

This recipe is great, thanks! Perhaps I'll try again. After reading Miss Mapp of course.

Limey said...

Ohhhh my mouth is watering!! This is one of my very favourite things in the world! I recently started cooking it for myself - delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe! It's more sophisticated than mine by far! I had never heard of adding apples - interesting! I encourage all Americans to try this comforting, delicious meal!

Julia W said...

That looks so delcious, maybe I should introduce my family to the delights of Toad in the Hole, they already love their American version; Pigs in a Blanket!

Emm said...

Oh yum. Now that I know what this is, I'll be more likely to order it in a restaurant. It certainly seems too complex for this beginner cook to fathom (I kind of lost it with "yorkshire batter").

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Michelloui--it does come out softer with the apples, so if you want more crispy bits, try without apples or put them around the edge rather than throughout.
Limey--I think we got the idea for the apples from a German pancake recipe that sounded like apples in yorkshire to me. We thought, apples & sausages, yum, and the rest is history.
JuliaW--never thought of that, guess you're right!
Emm--try a half-recipe of the yorkshires as a test run. You'll surprise yourself!

O said...

At school (these were dark pre-jamie-oliver-movement days), we had a grumpy lady dump a heap of watery mash potatoes on a plate followed by a sausage at an odd angle... that's toad in the hole!

Expat mum said...

Ooh, might have to try this version. My Yorkshire pudding mix never works here, unless I bring back the Tesco packs.