Toad-in-the-hole with apple and rosemary will be a family favourite

This fun dish tastes as good as it looks. And no, it is never made with toad

Yorkshire puddings are pure comfort food, a light eggy batter that puffs up in the heat of the oven. Yorkshire chefs created the dish as the perfect way to use the fat that fell into a dripping pan when meat was roasting, hence the name dripping pudding. They’re an essential component of a roast beef dinner and used to mop up onion gravy.

Toad-in-the-hole, made with a similar batter and sausages, has long been something that my children have loved, especially when made with cocktail sausages. It’s one of those fun dishes that tastes as good as it looks, always completed by pouring a pool of onion gravy over the golden batter. Adding wedges of red onion and apple makes this even more substantial and, with a few sprigs of rosemary, the batter is infused with incredible flavour.

Then there are the sausages: there’s plenty of room for change here, so try it with garlic and herb, Cumberland, or, our favourite for this dish, honey and mustard. As always, a quick scan over the ingredients list will show the quality of the sausages. The better they are, the better the final outcome. When cooking comfort food, I find it’s better to just embrace it and go for it, so buttery mashed potatoes and barely cooked sweet garden peas that pop in the mouth are ideal with this.

Traditionally, toad-in-the-hole was created in the early 18th century as a way to make a small piece of meat go further by surrounding it in a moat of batter. Cheaper cuts of beef, pigeon or lamb’s kidneys were used. It was usually created with already stewed or cooked leftover meat. Despite the misleading name, this dish was never made with toad. The modern sausage version is a much more palatable creation.


I’m always amazed at how eggs, milk and flour can be transformed into everything from cakes and puddings to pancakes and Yorkshire puddings, depending on the quantities and method of cooking. Lately I’ve been making popovers, similar to Dutch babies, instead of pancakes for breakfast on the weekends.

Served with warm blueberry compote and Greek yoghurt, they are such a treat. The batter for popovers is the same as for Yorkshire puddings, but with a little optional added sugar or vanilla extract. They’re cooked the same way too, in a well-oiled muffin tin, in a piping hot oven. They can be dusted with sugar once baked and are like crispy home-made cruffins. The hollow in the centre is perfect as a well for berries, yoghurt or maple syrup.

Recipe: Toad-in-the-hole with apple and rosemary