Hubby and I have been reading a lot of novels set in England lately, which makes us think of English food — and also, of course, brings forth fond memories of the week we spent in London back in 2006. And one of the things this has given us a hankering for is crumpets.
A few months ago, I did some Googling and tried a crumpet recipe that seemed promising. Well, the bread it made was edible — fine to go along with our morning cuppa Barry’s Gold Blend tea at breakfast or as a snack later in the day, but a crumpet, it was not — no lovely nooks and crannies. And as you can see in the demonstration below, the nooks and crannies are the thing:
Not to be deterred from having our own tea and crumpets at home, I did some more Googling and came across this recipe posted by PJ Hamel which sounded quite promising: Butter’s Best Friend. The recipe is 1) quick and easy, 2) promises nooks and crannies, and 3) has the pictures to prove it! (BTW, PJ says that the difference between a crumpet and an English muffin is that “The crumpet is a moister, denser, flatter English muffin, one whose holes extend all the way from center to top surface. It’s these holes that make the crumpet so delightfully decadent: spread a pat of soft butter on a hot crumpet, and it disappears. Spread jam, and it disappears, all save a telltale swipe of color.”)
If you don’t have muffin rings, you can make them without — ‘though they won’t be as symmetrically shaped, of course — or you can save tuna fish tins that you wash out and remove both the top and bottom.
Here is PJ’s recipe, as I followed it — you’ll want to visit her original post for all the lovely step-by-step photos and instructions:
English Crumpets (This made 16 crumpets)
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 cup lukewarm milk
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- I heated the milk (I used 1%) and water together in a saucepan, then removed from heat and dolloped the 2 tablespoons of butter in the warm liquid to melt.
- In a medium-sized bowl, I dumped in the flour, yeast, baking powder, and salt.
- Once the milk and water mixture had cooled to lukewarm (I placed it in a sink of cool water to hurry the process along), I poured that into the bowl with the flour and mixed it up with my mixer.
- I covered the top of the bowl with cling wrap and placed it in a warm spot for about an hour to raise. It was nearly coming out of the bowl 55 minutes later, so I may have let it raise a bit too long — or maybe I should have used a larger bowl! (I used my medium-sized mixing bowl with the pour spout on it for ease of pouring out the batter.)
- Lightly oil/grease a griddle or skillet (I used my large non-stick skillet). The recipe says to make sure your muffin rings are well greased, and as I’ve had trouble with even my non-stick rings sticking, I got serious about it: I poured some canola oil into a small bowl and rolled the rings in it before placing them in my lightly oiled non-stick skillet. And it worked, too, as I didn’t have trouble with the rings sticking. The recipe also says to heat your griddle/skillet to about 325F — less than what you would do for pancakes.
- I stirred down the batter (it was in danger of over-running the bowl!). For each crumpet, the recipe calls for a scant 1/4 cup of batter. I eye-balled it.
- Now, the recipe instructions state “After about 4 or 5 minutes, lift the rings off the muffins. They’ll be set enough to hold their shape. If necessary, wipe the rings clean, and re-grease.” Mine seemed to set-up more quickly than that (maybe I had the skillet a bit too hot?).
- Once the crumpet is fully bubbly and dry along the edges, flip and lightly toast the other side. Now, a “proper” crumpet is cooked on one side only, but like PJ (who wrote this recipe), I feel better browning the other side.
Now, my crumpets didn’t have much in the way of bubbles, nooks, and crannies on the outside, as they’re supposed to, but when I sliced into one to toast it, there were nooks and crannies inside. Also, mine are a bit undercooked in the middle — easily remedied by toasting — which is another thing that makes me think that I may have had my skillet a bit too hot — but I think they’ll be okay, as I’ve simply stored the leftovers in the ‘fridge, and we’ll toast them up before eating them.
Hubby was quite pleased with how these turned out — he said, “Oh, now THESE look like crumpets, and are nice and light!” — he ate his like pancakes, with sugar-free syrup, while I split and toasted mine and had with some butter (well, calcium-enriched margarine spread) and sugar-free strawberry preserves — and I think with a bit more practice, I’ll get even better with them. 🙂
They smell so yummy, you’ll be tempted to break out in song and dance 😉