04 March 2012

Cracking crumpets

I read Emily's post on making English Muffins the other day with interest. It reminded me of the crumpet rings I bought a long time ago (probably from Lakeland, but the ones they sell now don't look like mine). I think I tried to make crumpets with them once, when we lived in England, and it wasn't a successful experiment. But crumpets, once regular weekend tea-time fare for us, are hard to find in the shops here (and disappointing when they are found) so I thought it was worth repeating the experiment.

I can't remember what went wrong last time I tried, but I suspect the problem was that the crumpet batter stuck to the rings. The trick to avoiding this is to make sure that the rings are greased and that they are allowed to get hot in the pan before you add the batter.

Anyway, here's the recipe I used. It's from the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book (1998). I note that the other recipe on the same page is for Peshwari Naan Bread. This one cookery book page sums up a century of British food tastes, I'd say. But I digress...

Makes 12 crumpets. (The book says this quantity makes 24. The book lies.)

350g/12 oz/2 generous cups strong white flour (I used all-purpose*)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
1½ teaspoons instant dried yeast
300ml/10 fl. oz/1¼ cups warm water
250ml/8 fl. oz/1 cup warm milk
Oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients except the oil in a food mixer for a few minutes to make a thick batter. Cover and leave somewhere warm for an hour. Beat for a further minute then pour into a jug.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Grease four 3-inch crumpet rings and stand in the pan for two minutes until very hot.

Pour the batter into each ring, so that they are about three-quarters full (the batter will expand as it cooks). Cook for 5-7 minutes on a medium heat until the surface is set and holey.

Remove the metal ring - the batter should have shrunk away from the edge, so this is fairly easy (not how I remember it from my earlier attempt!). My rings have little handles, which help. Flip the crumpets over to cook for one minute on the other side.

If you eat them straight from the pan, you don't need to toast them. But if you let them get cold, then toasting them will bring them back to full crumpetty perfection.

Watching the holes appear in the surface of the crumpets is fun. Here they are after a minute or two, with holes appearing at the edges:

Two or three minutes later, nearly ready to flip over:

And the finished product, crying out for some butter to melt into all those holes.

Personally, I don't think crumpets are complete without Marmite on them, too. But I accept that might be a little too English for some people...

*I tried this recipe with strong flour a week or two after writing this post. It wasn't a success: much harder to pour the batter, which turned into a gloopy mess. My advice is to stick with regular flour. If you like, you can substitute wholemeal flour for half of the total, to make a slightly more rib-sticking version.


Lisa from Iroquois said...

I have some of those little rings with handles in my kitchen drawer!! I thought they were for frying eggs in perfect circles (for english muffins). HA. I think I'm gonna try me some crumpets. Yum.

Linda said...

Your homemade crumpets look delicious. I agree it is hard to find good ones around here. I love marmite, but have never tried it on crumpets. Perhaps it will improve the taste of the ones we buy. :)

Sarah said...

They look scrummy - always wondered how you made a crumpet - will have to try it now!

Amanda said...

Lisa, now you've said that, I think maybe it was eggs and not crumpets that I tried to cook in those rings before. And it was the eggs that stuck to the rings, not the crumpets! But maybe the same trick about heating them first would work with eggs. Will have to try that, too...

Unknown said...

So wonderful! I want to try them with the gluten free flour mix I got from Penny's Pantry in Picton....so good!

Lisa said...

That looks delicious. I don't think I've ever had a proper crumpet...