Recipe History: An Ode to Toad in the Hole

It’s a Traditional English Dish

Throughout the past few decades, if not a century or longer, Toad in the Hole has been a traditional dish. It appears that in early days, other ingredients were used instead of sausages such as bits and pieces of meat, the cheapest leftovers from butchers’ shops (1861), or pieces of Spam instead of sausages in the wartime (1940s). Perhaps Pigeon in the Hole was the original version of the dish, as a 1747 cookbook called “The Art of Cookery” presented a recipe with pigeons in Yorkshire pudding batter.

Simple preparation, yet Takes Skill

If you have ever unsuccessfully cooked Yorkshire puddings, you know how hard Toad in the Hole can be to make. The preparation is deceptively simple, and most recipes call for a pan to be placed in the oven while the oven preheats for 15 minutes or so. The batter is prepared in the meantime, and thawed sausages are added with the batter to the pan, and then cooked for half an hour. If frozen sausages are used, they are placed in the pan while it preheats. At the same time, if you take it out too early, let the draft catch it, or something else goes wrong, the batter is quick to collapse and lose its fluffy, appealing texture.