A few days ago I caught up with a girlfriend at a local cafe. On the menu? Homemade crumpets. Perfect with a cup of tea. Particularly so on a miserable wet winter’s day. I’d never eaten homemade crumpets before and wasn’t disappointed. They were amazing. Light and fluffy with crispy bottoms. Toasted to perfection. Generously drizzled with cultured butter and wild honey.
One of my daughters adores crumpets. I occasionally purchase them for her from the supermarket. Gauging whether they are fresh is a bit hit and miss. They are tightly wrapped in cellophane and more than once I’ve taken them home, only to unwrap them to toast them for breakfast and find them speckled with flecks of mould. They’re tossed into the bin and invariably I vow I’ll never buy them again.
Those cafe crumpets were so fantastic they spurred me on to research crumpet making at home. Where to find a great crumpet recipe? From the Brits of course. Crumpets are traditional British fare and I was lucky enough to come across a great article from the Guardian titled How to Cook The Perfect…Crumpet.
In reality crumpets are nothing more than oversized, yeasted pikelets. Learning to make pikelets was almost a rite of passage when I was growing up. Home economics 101. And so it transpired that on another dreary, chilly winter’s day I made my first ever batch of crumpets. Not difficult at all.
The making is quick and easy, the hardest part is remembering to start the batter an hour or so before its needed to allow the yeast to work its magic. The addition of bicarbonate of soda to the batter at the end gives the crumpets their distinctive bubbly, honeycomb appearance. I used metal food presentation rings to cook the crumpets. Once upon a time I’m sure there were such things as crumpet rings, but I’m sure egg rings would work equally well. If the rings are well greased with butter the crumpets will slide off easily when cooked.
Thanks to the Guardian for a foolproof recipe. My daughter’s verdict? Amazing. So much better than the store bought ones.
The Perfect Crumpet
Adapted from an article in The Guardian. How To Cook The Perfect…Crumpet
Makes about 8 crumpets
1 teaspoon sugar
200ml whole milk
100ml boiling water
1 tablespoon dried yeast
1 cup (150g) strong white bakers flour
2/3 cup (100g) plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50 ml warm water
20g butter, melted for cooking
MIX the sugar, milk and boiling water in a jug and stir in the yeast. Leave in a warm place for 15 minutes until frothy.
COMBINE the flours in a large mixing bowl with the salt. Stir in the liquid and mix vigorously until smooth. Cover and leave in a warm place for between one-and-a-half and two hours until the batter is a mass of tiny bubbles.
MIX the bicarbonate of soda with 50ml warm water and stir it into the batter. Cover and stand in a warm place for 30 minutes.
MELT the butter and use it to brush the inside of four crumpet rings. Heat a large frying pan on a medium-low heat and grease the pan. Put the rings flat into the pan and ladle a spoonful of batter into each, so they are about half full.
COOK until mixture bubbles, small holes form on the surface and a skin forms on top (4-5 minutes).
REMOVE rings, turn crumpets and cook until light golden (1 minute). Keep crumpets warm in a tea towel while you repeat with remaining batter, thinning with a little extra milk if necessary. If the batter is too thick, the holes won’t be able to force their way through to the top, add too much liquid and batter will run out from under the rings.
SERVE warm immediately or toasted the following day.