Smoked Mackerel Pâté with Yorkshire Pudding

If you really want to impress people but expend as little effort as possible, this appetizer is just the thing. Use my make-ahead tips below and you’ll be amazed at how effortlessly you can pull together this showstopper of an appetizer.

If you can’t get smoked mackerel, smoked trout works beautifully.

Feeds 4 – 6 as a nibble


For the pâté:

180g (2 fillets) of smoked mackerel

100g cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)

Zest of ½ lemon

Juice of ½ lemon, or less if it’s a juicy one

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

For the yorkies:

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

2 eggs

½ tsp salt

Vegetable oil


Remove the skin from the fish and use your hands to flake the fish into large pieces. Add the fish to a bowl along with the cream cheese, lemon zest and juice, a small pinch of salt and a big pinch of pepper. Stir to combine. Taste, and add more pepper and lemon juice if required. You shouldn’t need much salt as the fish and cheese are salted already.

Transfer the pâté to a shallow serving bowl and refrigerate. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.

Make ahead: Prepared pâté can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 2 days. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.

For the yorkies, add the flour, milk, salt and eggs to a bowl and whisk together. Let stand on the counter for a minimum of 1 hour before baking.

Make ahead: Yorkshire pudding batter can sit on the counter for 1 – 4 hours, or up to two days, covered, in the fridge.

Tip: You need to let the batter rest once you’ve mixed it up. If you don’t, the yorkies won’t rise properly. Don’t ask me why; I don’t make the rules. Don’t keep stirring the batter once you’ve mixed it up. Just let it rest in peace.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425F / 220C / 200C Fan.

Add a tiny drizzle of vegetable oil to each hole in a standard 12 muffin tin (about 1/8 of a tsp if you were to measure it – it’s just a small drizzle) and place the tray in the oven to get hot.

When the tray is nice and hot, carefully remove from the oven and, working quickly, ladle in the yorkie batter about halfway up each hole. Immediately place the tray back in the oven and bake for 14 – 16 minutes, or until puffed and a deep golden brown. Whatever you do, do not open the oven while they’re baking – just look through the glass and keep and eye on them. (I often sit on the floor and just stare at them.)

When the yorkies are done, pile them up on the board or serving tray and serve immediately, alongside the pâté, a big wedge of lemon and some teaspoons for scooping and smearing.

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