As quick and easy as it is cheap and tasty, Toad in the Hole is the epitome of comfort food. So why should gluten-dodgers have to miss out?
Toad in the Hole is in essence a thrifty supper, but you needn’t minimise your portions to make it stretch. You can pad a limited number of bangers out with more batter to serve the masses, or go for broke and stuff your hole with as many sausages as your dish can harbour.
I personally favour fat sausages (gluten-free, obviously in this case), baked in the oven solo until just browned, but not dark, before chucking them in the batter to bake again. Without pre-roasting the bangers, they can end up rather pallid and unimpressive, with only the exposed meat through the batter browning, while the rest boils in its own juices and remains as anaemic in colour as the inside of the Yorkshirepudding.
I used gluten-free Lincolnshire sausages from Mountain’s Boston Sausage
. You don’t want any hip and trendy bangers in this dish. When it comes to Toad in the Hole, the more traditional the better. You can keep your chorizo or Scotch bonnet bangers for another day. This is a dish best kept simple.
When it comes to the batter, a wheat-free version is even easier, as there’s no need to rest the batter. The most important thing is to try to incorporate as much air into the mixture as possible while whisking, so that it will puff up and crisp around the edges. The easiest way to do this is with an electric hand whisk, but I never bother. A balloon whisk and a little bit of arm power are all you really need. Plus, it saves on extra washing up. I weigh all the ingredients straight into a measuring jug – there’s no need to sift the flour unless you particularly want to - before whisking by hand until the batter is about the thickness of pouring cream. And when it comes to cooking the batter, it’s essential that you heat the oil or dripping until super hot in your baking dish before adding the batter, to prevent your Toad becoming greasy.
I like to serve mine with onion gravy, peas or broccoli and a big dollop of Dijon mustard.
Gluten-free Toad in the Hole
About 6 gluten-free pork sausages
Dripping or oil
For the batter
300g gluten-free self-raising flour (I used Dove’s)
1 tsp. baking powder
200 ml milk
200 ml water
A generous pinch of salt
A generous grind of black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan)/400°F/Gas Mark 6
Drizzle a little oil in your baking dish before tossing in your sausages. Roast them for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned – they will be cooked again, so you don’t want them to be too dark at this stage.
In the meantime, make the batter. Simply put all the ingredients into a bowl or measuring jug and whisk them together thoroughly with a balloon whisk, trying to incorporate as much air as possible.
Once the sausages are done, remove them from the dish and set aside for later. Turn up the heat to 220°C. Pour a couple of tablespoons of sunflower oil or dripping into the dish and pop it in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes to get really hot.
Carefully, remove the dish from the oven and pour in the batter. It will sizzle a bit. Next, pop the sausages on top – they will sink in, without fully immersing. Pop the dish back in the oven for about 35 – 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Inspired? There's many more great sausage recipes to find on Great British Chefs.