This delicious dish, as you can imagine, has nothing to do with greenish amphibians. Toad in the Hole is a classic of English cookery, in which banger-like sausages are set and baked within a large Yorkshire pudding (see recipe a few posts back). Kate and I like our Toad with baked beans. If you’re feeling healthy have yours with a salad.
So let’s begin. First you need to make a Yorkshire pudding batter. Instead of pudding pans, though, use a large oval or oblong glass dish that can easily accommodate a half-dozen sausages or more. One sausage per person probably suffices but I tend to bake five, so the Prodigal Family can have seconds. You’ll also need four tablespoonfuls of your favorite fat: duck, goose, beef, or canola. And, of course, you need bangers!
I suppose you could use an Italian sausage but I prefer not to. I do deviate from the traditional recipe by using wonderful apple sausages we buy from the Amish market and studding the dish with sautÃ©ed apple segments. It’s a bit like having the main course and dessert all rolled into one.
Making the Toad
First heat the oven to 450F. Add the fat of your choice to the glass dish and pop it into the center of the oven .
Two granny smith type apples need to be cored, peeled, and quartered. Sounds a bit medieval but carry on regardless. Gently saute apples in a little butter. Watch them like a hawk. Once they start to color, sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon then take them off the fire, remove apples but keep handy. Brown the sausages in the remaining butter. No need to cook through, just make sure they get lightly browned on all sides. Now place sausages, apples, and residual fat into the toad dish, spread the wealth and close the oven door. (I put more apples around the outside of the dish rather than in the center, as a lot of apples in the center can make the batter overly soft.) After three minutes or so, your glass dish will be smoky hot and the sausages and apples will be ready to receive the enrobing batter. Remove your Yorkshire batter from the fridge, re-whisk.
Open the oven. Warning: don’t pour the batter into the dish tsunami-fashion. If you do, the hot fat will make your sausages and apples slip and slide until they clump together in one unappetizing mass. Not good. You want the batter to moat around all those lovely nibble bits. To accomplish this successfully, I anoint the dish using a ladle, carefully but quickly. The batter mixture will start to set up almost immediately, anchoring the contents throughout the dish. Close the oven door. Cook for 20 minutes at 450F. The sides of the Toad will have risen at this point quite beautifully but the center will not be cooked through. If the bangers are browning too quickly, cover them with a bit of foil. Lower the temperature to 400F and cook for another 15-20 minutes until set.
Here’s how I serve it
When Frances isn’t looking, I purloin the elongated spatula she reserves for baking and slide the Toad onto a nice platter, leaving any excess fat behind in the glass dish.
Do try this grand and surprisingly economical treat. It’s a Prodigal Family favorite and I’m sure if you try it once, it will be a hit with your crew, too.