I have been a bit crumpet-mad recently. I like to eat them for breakfast, covered in butter and honey, at brunch, for afternoon tea – well, any time works really. I love their springy consistency and the way you can feed them as much butter as you like and they never let on. Crumpets from the shop are quite tasty and very easy but I have been meaning to have a go at making my own for some time. Whenever I invite friends over for brunch I make a hearty fry-up of sausages, bacon, eggs – the usual. It would be exciting to have something new to offer, particularly once the weather is a little brighter, and who could resist a freshly-made crumpet? Not me!
So yesterday morning I went out to buy crumpet rings…but I couldn’t find any so I plumped for egg rings instead. I think they are actually the same thing. I looked at various recipes but I decided to play it safe and use Delia’s from Delia’s Complete Cookery Course. Although I prefer some of my newer, shinier cookbooks for inspiration and twists on the classics, Delia is fabulous for traditional recipes such as Yorkshire puddings and (hopefully) crumpets. I was a little worried about using her recipe at first because, unlike a lot of the other recipes out there, it doesn’t call for any bicarbonate of soda. Do just-okay bakers need the bicarb boost? Would the distinctive holes appear?
Yes and in abundance – hooray!
So holes weren’t an issue for me but I did find that our first few were too stodgy on the inside. I more or less rectified this with a lower heat, a longer cooking time and adding a dash or two more water than Delia’s recipe calls for but next time I’m going to add bicarbonate of soda as well and see what difference that makes. I also want to know how the consistency changes as they cool – this time, we ate the entire batch hot from the hob…
Makes about 12 crumpets
– 275ml semi-skimmed milk
– 80ml water
– 1 sachet quick-action dried yeast
– 1 teaspoon caster sugar
– 225g plain flour
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– butter for greasing (and eating!)
Heat the milk and water in a pan until tepid (if it’s too hot for your finger, it’s too hot for the yeast!). Pour into a bowl and stir in the yeast and sugar. Leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes until the mixture has bubbled up. Tip: if your mixture isn’t bubbly, check the expiration date of your yeast. The older it is, the less active it will be – some very sad and solid brioche was the price to pay for this lesson!
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and pour in the yeast mixture. Beat together until the batter is smooth. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for an hour or two, by which point the batter should be really really bubbly.
Heat a non-stick frying pan and place on a low heat. Grease the crumpet rings (and the pan too if you aren’t using a non-stick one), place into the pan and spoon just over a tablespoon of batter into each ring (I used two dessertspoons’ worth). Tip: If you use this amount, your crumpets will turn out thinner than shop bought ones but there is a much better chance of holes developing all over your crumpet and your crumpet cooking through. If you do decide to make them thicker, beware of the hole-less crumpet and the burnt bottom!
Cook for about ten minutes until the top is dry and the crumpet is set. Tip: The lower the heat, the less stodgy the crumpets will be on the inside when the outside is done.
Bubbles should start to appear and pop on the surface of the crumpet after a minute or two…
With an oven glove, remove the rings (this should be quite easy as the crumpets retract as they cook), flip the crumpets over and cook for another couple of minutes.
Re-grease the rings and repeat for the rest of the batter.
Slather in butter and serve immediately. You will make many friends. We ate ours so fast that I hardly had time to take photos of them once out of the pan!
Source: Recipe adapted from Delia’s Complete Cookery Course; photos by pip & little blue.
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