I've always made Yorkshire puddings and pancakes using a stick blender. I'll typically make the batter, leave it to stand for an hour or so and give it one last whizz about 5 minutes before pouring it into the tins/pan as appropriate.
My flatmate saw me making them for the first time, and was horrified. He thinks I should use a wooden spoon so I don't 'chop up' the gluten and affect the rise. My Yorkshire puddings always rise well and are light, so I'm tempted to stick to my easy speedy method.
My thoughts are that the gluten won't really have formed into chains when I first blend it, so there's nothing to chop up. I'm prepared to concede that it might in the second, but because it's a wet batter you don't really have the same sort of network as you would in a dough. I've looked at recipes and have found a few people (including Mary Berry and Delia Smith) who use an electric whisk, which I would think would also be quite robust, but I suppose it doesn't have blades in the same way.
So, is there any evidence that using a stick blender would
- Chop up the gluten?
- Make any difference to the final Yorkshire pudding/pancake?