Sunday, June 16, 2013

Toad in the Hole

Today I'm making 'Toad in the Hole'.  Can you possibly think of a more off-putting name for a recipe? Where did it even come from?  I don't want to eat a dish where the first think you assume is that you are eating amphibian.  Especially a warty ol'toad that was living in a hole somewhere.  Ick yuck!

For the longest time I thought the dish where you would cut a hole out of a piece of toast and fry it in a pan with an egg was called Toad in the Hole.  It turns out that is called Egg in a Hole, Egg in a Basket, or Egg in a Nest.  All of which are much more appealing.

Hmmm... I just looked up Toad in the Hole on Wikipedia.  I must not be the only confused person because this is the first thing Wikipedia tells me: "This article is about the sausage dish. For the egg and toast dish, see Egg in the basket."

It's scary how well Wikipedia knows me.

So, Toad in the Hole eh?  What the heck?  The same article tells me that it might be named this because it looks like a toad sticking it's head out of a hole.  Really?  Well I can't dispute it since I've never seen a toad sticking it's head out of a hole.  Again - ick - so unappealing.

I just had a huge a-ha moment.  Wikipedia also tells me it supposed to be sausages in a yorkshire pudding batter!  A-ha!  That's where the batter comes from!  Also that it's supposed to be served with gravy and vegetables.  That would have made all the difference!

Well... on with the recipe!

I feel like at least one of the recipes on this page must be well used judging from the state of the book at this point.

This looks like a pretty easy recipe made from things that I usually have around the house.  The only thing I needed to buy were the sausages.  This is also a very inexpensive dish.  Nothing fancy going on here as you can see from the ingredients.  

I was vacillating at the store between using italian sausages and breakfast sausages as it seemed like a rather breakfasty dish.  I was expecting it would be like sausages cooked into a big pancake.

I looked at the first line of the recipe and put everything except the sausages into my blender to blend.  I did have a good giggle about not sticking your spatula into the blender while it's on.  I like how cookie recipes in grandma's cookbook won't give temperatures because they assume you know but it tells you not to blend a spatula.

Yeeeeeah.  This is when I found out that my blender I received as a gift 7 years ago no longer works.  Just doesn't even turn on.  

So now I need to get as much of that lumpy mess out of there as I can.  I guess I'll try to use my Magic Bullet blender.  I was worried it wouldn't all fit in there.

Scrape, scrape, Scrape.

Hey it all fits.  Excellent.  I should have just used this to start with.  I'm not much of a gadget gal but I do like the Magic Bullet!

 And it all blended up quite well.

As you can see the batter ends up being quite thin and runny.  Not at all like pancake batter.

The next part of the recipe tells you to put your sausages in a 12' oval pan.  I don't have one of those so I used a baking dish.  I pricked them all over and put them in the oven.

I knew there was no way at 250 degrees that these sausages were going to brown in five minutes.  

And they didn't.  It took closer to 20 minutes and I think I cranked up the temperature.  I think perhaps the temperature was wrong in the recipe.

This is what it looked like just before I added the batter.  I guess grandma must have used fattier sausages because I didn't drain any of the fat.  

This is the final dish when I took it out - and I baked it for longer than the recipe stated.

I guess it wasn't bad.  It was REALLY hard to get out of the pan so there is no nice picture of it served up.  I was disappointed by the batter.  I was either expecting it to be like a pancake or perhaps a corn dog.  I found it to be quite bland.  Also I'm not the biggest fan of sausages so that didn't help.

Seeing just now that it is supposed to be like Yorkshire pudding I can picture it being quite nice served with gravy and roasted veggies.

Knowing this, I would try this again by doing the following to make it act like Yorkshire pudding.  I would put some oil (not olive oil) in the baking dish and put it in the oven while it heated to the hottest you can get it - 475 degrees perhaps.  I would then put the sausages in and cook them at that high temp for five minutes or until browned and not dump out any fat.  I would then pull the pan out, pour the batter in, put it back in the oven and then lower the temp to 350 to cook.  Yorkshire pudding puffs because of the screaming hot pan and oil and I think that mistake in temperature in the cookbook made all the difference.

Note - I haven't tried any of these modifications - just my thoughts.  I would also make gravy and vegetables to have with it!

Here is the recipe as written in my grandma's cookbook:


1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 lb pork sausage (small)

Combine flour, eggs, milk, water, salt and pepper in the blender and blend at high speed until thoroughly mixed, scrape down sides with machine off.  If using whisk or rotary or electric beater beat eggs and salt until foamy first, then slowly add flour, milk, and water and beat until smooth and creamy.  Refrigerate batter for 1 hour.

Place sausages in 12" baking dish (oval).  Prick sausages with a fork and bake in 250 degree oven [this has to be wrong - it must be 450 degree] until they begin to brown (about five minutes).  Remove from oven and pour off fat leaving no more than 4 tablespoons in the dish.  Arrange sausages 1" apart and pour batter over.  Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes until it has risen above sides of pan and is crisp and brown.  Serves 4.