Bread of the Month: Putting parsnip in ‘Puddings’

Recently, thumbing through Donna Hay’s delightful book, “Christmas Feasts and Treats” (2018), a book I purchased a few years back and continue to peruse (whether it’s Christmas or not)… I really thought I wanted to make nearly everything in it.

[T]he book is beautiful, so visually appealing in its offering of all manner of Christmas goodies, from cookies to cakes and candies, but also a generous amount of main dishes, appetizers and more, with a considerable number of vegetable dishes, that are as mouthwatering to consider as the sweets.

[I] was intrigued by a recipe with two surprise veggie ingredients — parsnip and sweet potato — used for mini Yorkshire puddings, a British classic that is more popover than pudding and served with classic dinners at holidays and through the year. Yorkshire pudding has a long history, with recipes recorded in the 1700s…the pudding was often baked with or alongside roasted meats and included drippings from the meat, as well as (once baked) being used to soak up the juices and gravies at the meal.

[I]have made popovers numerous times, usually using a trusted recipe that incorporates sourdough starter. Hay’s recipe combines, milk, eggs, salt flour and thyme leaves in a blender carafe.

[T]he ingredients are blended until smooth and the batter is given about 20 minutes to set.

[T]he parsnip and sweet potato are shredded or “shaved” and the strands of veggies will be sprinkled over top of the batter.

[A]fter heating the muffin pan in the preheating oven, I sprayed each cavity with cooking spray, skipping the step of using ghee (clarified butter), which I did not have. While the pan was hot, I poured the batter to fill each muffin cavity 1/2 full, then sprinkled a generous amount of the shredded parsnip and sweet potato over top.

[T]he magic of baking in a hot oven results in the ever-surprising blowing up of this type of batter into beautiful raised whorls of light, golden puffs, with those little strands of veggie and speckles of green thyme.

[I] couldn’t have been more pleased, studying these beauties and taking photos of them. But, knowing they are best eaten hot, I also couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into them. I buttered one and took in the tenderness of my first Yorkshire pudding…the moist, rich egg-y tenderness, punctuated with subtle notes of root veggies and earthy thyme. So delicious! I polished off two before my Christmas main dish — Mushroom Bourguignon — which I thought would have good substance for soaking. Any soup or stew would be overjoyed to be accompanied by these, another successful testament to what is becoming a favorite cookbook.

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