The weather is getting hotter here on Vancouver Island, BC, but for some reason I decided to turn on the oven this evening. We had some breakfast sausages in the fridge that needed using up, and I thought a nice, hot, dinner, out of the nice, hot oven would help cool things off. Okay, that is not what actually went through my head, but I must have had some logic! It’s too hot for me to remember it now, though.
Toad in the hole was a treat growing up – perhaps more of a treat in winter, but still a treat. Sausages tucked nicely into a crisp, light Yorkshire pudding batter just can’t go wrong, so I decided to use the recipe out of The Something Different Dish cookbook by Marion Harris Neil, published in 1915.
After reading through the recipe, I could tell by the proportions of milk, egg, and flour that the batter would be more custardy than what I am used to, but I decided to try it anyway. The other main difference in the recipe was that it didn’t call for cooking the sausages and preheating the pan first, a step I usually take care of by cooking the sausages in the oven, in the pan I am going to use to bake the Toad.
The end result was very similar in flavour, and the soft, custard-like pudding around the sausages was fine, but it lacked the full appeal of a light, crisp Yorkshire pudding. While I will stick with my usual recipe*, this one is interesting enough that it was worth making. It also comes with 2 different variations that I will share with you as well.
- 1 lb. sausages
- 2 eggs
- 1 pint (2 cupfuls) milk
- 1/2 teaspoonful salt
- 3 tablespoonfuls flour
- pepper to taste
Remove the skin from the sausages and put them into a buttered fireproof dish. Mix the flour, salt, pepper, add the eggs well beaten and the milk, beat for 5 minutes, and pour over the sausages. Bake for 30 minutes in a moderate oven. Serve hot.
Another Method. Blanch three pig’s brains, trim them and cut in slices. Arrange the slices at the bottom of a pan with two slices of bacon cut in small pieces, two tablespoonfuls of chopped onion, one teaspoonful of chopped parsley, a chopped pickle, salt and pepper to taste and one cup of stock; bring to boiling point.
Mix one-half cupful of flour with one-half teaspoonful of baking powder, add one well beaten egg and one cupful of milk or water. Beat for three minutes and pour over the brains. Bake in a hot oven for twenty minutes.
To make a vegetarian toad-in-a-hole. Peel and slice one pound of potatoes and one-half pound on onions, fry both together in one-half cupful of melted butter until nicely browned, and turn them into a well buttered fireproof dish. Season to taste with salt, pepper, paprika and powdered sage. Sprinkle in one-half cupful of finely chopped nut meats.
Put two cupfuls of flour into a basin, add one and one-half tablespoonfuls of fine oatmeal, one-half teaspoonful of salt, the yolks of three eggs, the whites beaten to a stiff froth, and sufficient milk to make a thick batter. Pour over vegetables, and bake in a moderate oven for one hour.
Tomatoes and mushrooms may be used in the same way.
I am pretty certain I will never try the version with pork brains, but the vegetarian one… maybe. Unlikely, since there are so many better sounding vegetarian recipes to make when my niece visits, but you never know. Overall, this recipe was tasty enough, though plain. My other half doused his with hot sauce, but then, he puts that on pretty much anything he eats. I think if I were to make this version again, it would more likely be for breakfast, and with extra eggs added. But to be honest, I think I’d just stick with the traditional (to me, at least) light and crisp version. And I won’t be making that until the weather cools off considerably!
Marion Harris Neil’s cookbook, The Something-Different Dish, is subtitled “Odd in Name, but Good to Try When You Want to Have a Change.” Many of the recipes are quite odd in name: Love in Disguise, Huff, Wet Devil, Lobs-Lie-By-the-Fire, and Fat Rascals, but for the most part they sound pretty good when they don’t include organ meat. The book is certainly a worthwhile read, if you can find a copy.
*My usual recipe is vague… I cook the sausages in the oven at 400, maybe 425° while I make a fairly typical Yorkshire pudding batter from milk, eggs and flour. I don’t really measure, just kind of guestimate, but you can use any Yorkshire pudding recipe you have, or find one online. Once the sausages are cooked and a little brown, take the hot skillet or dish containing the sausages out of the oven, pour in the batter and put it back into the hot oven for another 30-45 minutes. Yum! I recommend making this in cooler weather!