Another great British culinary combination, Toad in the Hole is a dish of sausages in a crispy batter. It looks and tastes superb.
In reality, it's a very simple recipe. The choice of sausages is up up to you, we have chosen relatively thick (but not huge) Cumberland sausages. They sit well in the batter. However, some use much smaller, chipolata style sausages, But we feel they can often be swamped by the batter.
We will mention that CookUK is run by only two people and we have no expensive photographic equipment or expertise. The Toad in the Hole you see at the top of this page is exactly what you can expect if you follow our recipe in your own kitchen. It is the result of many years of experimentation to achieve the perfect Toad in the Hole.
Six chunky Cumberland sausages
90g / 3¼oz plain flour
90ml / 3fl oz of semi-skimmed or full fat milk
60ml / 2fl oz water
1 large egg
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, other oils (e.g. olive oil) are not a good substitute
The only preparation required is to set your oven to its highest temperature with the roasting dish in it.
This traditional recipe has changed over the years and that explains why the name "toad in the hole" no longer describes what it now looks like. Originally this recipe consisted of small bits of rounded leftover meat poking out from the batter and indeed the meat did look slightly like small toads. Over time however, sausages have replaced the bits of meat.
To remain more true to the original recipe you could remove the skin from the sausages and form the meat into little balls but, for us, sausages do just fine.
Use chunky sausages for this recipe (we used Cumberland sausages), they cook and look much better compared to smaller sausages. As with most food, quality comes at a price and sausages are no exception. But a pack of six good quality sausages can be bought for £2 making this a good value meal for three people with some gravy, mashed potato and vegetables.
There's no secret about making good batter. The correct ingredients (only three are needed) and the hottest oven you can muster up. It's a good idea to place the baking tray directly on the heated hob whilst pouring in the batter around the sausages, and then quickly but very carefully placing it back in the heated oven. Maintaining a high temperature is the key to a crispy batter.
I have seen a cook pulling out the cooked sausages from the oven on the rack and pouring the batter over the sausages whilst still half in the oven. It took less than 20 seconds to do this and maintained the heat of the roasting tin to perfection but it looked decidedly dangerous - each to their own.
On its own toad in the hole is rather dry and it definitely needs something with a bit of moisture. Gravy goes very well with it as do baked beans or spaghetti hoops.
The recipe ingredients have been tuned for a roasting dish which has a base that measures approximately 24cm / 9½in by 18cm / 7in. Although we have found no other recipes that specify the tin size, it is, in fact, important. Too big a tin and the batter will be thin and prone to burning - too small a tin will result in a batter which is soggy when cooked.
The size of the roasting tin is approximate, however, if your roasting tin is significantly larger or smaller, reduce or increase the amount of the batter ingredients.
We promise you, we spent ages trying out various combinations of this recipe and it will give you perfect results! The other factor with the roasting tin is that it should be non-stick metal, other types of dish either don't heat up as well or cause the toad in the hole to stick to the bottom.
Sift the flour into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the egg and mix it all together with a fork. Slowly add the milk and water, again mixing together with a fork. If you have an electric food mixer then make life easy and use that. In the end the mixture should be smooth and relatively lump free. Season with salt and pepper. Put the batter mixture to one side.STEP 2
Prick the skin of the sausages a couple of times with a fork and place them in the roasting tray. Place it in the oven for three minutes. Now turn the sausages to prevent them sticking to the tray, add the tablespoon of oil and cook for five more minutes.
While the sausages are cooking turn up the heat on one of the hob plates.STEP 3
With the batter mixture to hand remove the sausages from the oven onto the heated hob plate. Pour the batter mixture into the the baking tray around but not directly over the sausages. Quickly but very carefully place the baking tray back onto the top shelf of the hot oven.
Cook for 12 more minutes then check the toad in the hole. Depending on the heat of your oven it may need up to ten more minutes. It is cooked when the sausages and batter are darkish brown.