Toad In The Hole

Tip of the hat to Simon Hopkinson and Felicity Cloake. Toad in the Hole is a classic, everyone should have this at least once a year.
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp beef dripping or lard
  • 6 decent sausages (I tend to use Cumberland)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • a pinch of salt with the flour according to taste (This is optional. The sausages tend to be salty and I think a more bland batter is a nice contrast.)
  • 85ml whole milk (if you can be bothered you could gently warm this with bay leaf/peppercorns, perhaps even some sliced shallot, and leave to infuse and cool for an hour or so. Just sayin’)
  • 85ml ale, (you’ll just have to drink the leftovers)
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard to taste
Method
  1. Warm and infuse the milk if you fancy.
  2. Put the eggs in a large bowl and beat, until thick (a decent beating gives a lighter texture to the finished batter.) Beat in the flour and milk alternately until smooth, then stir in the ale and mustard and leave to sit for 15-20 minutes so the flour can properly hydrate.
  3. Preheat the oven to about 200C fan. Heat half the fat in a frying pan over a medium heat and brown the sausages on all sides (another bit of worthwhile effort). You don’t need to cook them through, this happens in the oven, but the colour equates to flavour. Nicely browned but not burned.
  4. Put the remaining fat in a roasting dish, can be metal or earthenware, but good heavy metal is excellent and put it in the oven till it’s really smoking hot.
  5. Once the sausages are browned all over, and the batter has rested, get the really hot dish and pour in the fat from the sausage pan, followed by the batter, which should sizzle as it hits the tin. You can set the roasting dish on a stovetop ring while you do this to keep the heat high.
  6. Add the sausages and return to the oven.
  7. Bake for about 35 minutes until well risen and golden, then serve your Toad in the Hole immediately.

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