Crumpet has a two different meanings depending on where you are from. As a breakfast item, crumpets are something that Australian’s are familiar with for breakfast created by the Golden company. For me, as a child I loved this sweet yeast cake sometimes served instead of toast for breakfast. It’s light bubbly appearance and texture meant that you could smear butter and honey or golden syrup onto it and it would soak right through to the crisper base creating a delicious moist and buttery treat. I was also always a fan of a smear of Vegemite for a salty contrast with the buttery soaked crumpet.
As an adult I also know it can be used in English slang, although perhaps not so frequently anymore, to refer to an attractive and sexy woman. Whilst this would make for a very interesting post on my food blog I’m going to be more focused on the former.
They are still something of a treat for me if I buy them and I’ve never considered making them having not been aware of even how to go about it or what created the bubbles and light and fluffy texture. Mrs Beeton to the rescue for solving this mystery for me. The Cookbook Guru was the perfect vehicle to attempt to make these childhood favourites. She actually titles them pikelets (which I know as something different altogether) but the description sounds like it is the right thing so I thought I would give them a try and see if I can create a childhood favourite at home that compares to my memories of the commercial product.
I was under no illusions about the ease of making this recipe as a sneak peak into Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery talked about the trials and tribulations she had in attempting to create successful crumpets. If an authority like her finds these challenging that what was little old me in for?
Well the good news is that my first attempt wasn’t that bad. The flavour was good, the texture was light and fluffy, but they looked and tasted nothing like the commercial versions that I know. I think the main thing was that the batter was too thick, which altered the texture, and ultimately the look. I am going to give the batch a second attempt and see if I can create something a little more related to what I know. The good news is that I can see how easy it would be to make English Muffins, in particular in the original reading of the book Beeton talks about the recipe being very similar, the difference in the consistancy of the batter only.
Crumpets – The Original recipe from the 1907 cookbook
Ingredients – To every quart of milk allow 1-1/2 oz. of yeast, a little salt and flour.
Mode – Warm the milk, add to it the yeast and mix these well together; put them into a pan and stir in sufficient flour to make the whole like a batter than a dough. Let it rise for about 1/2 hour, pour into iron rings, which should be ready on a hot-plate, bake them and whwen one side appears done, turn them over quickly to the other side.
Crumpets – how I made them from the 1963 version
- pinch of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 pt. milk/water
- 1/2 lb plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 oz yeast
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- butter for cooking your crumpets
In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients except the bicarbonate of soda. Place the milk into a small saucepan over a low heat and warm to finger temperature. Add the milk to the dry ingredients slowly and mix at the same time to avoid the mixture going lumpy. Cover the bowl with a tea towl and allow to prove for at least an hour, two is preferable.
At this point mix the bicarbonate of soda with a tbl sp. warm water and dissolve. Add to the batter and combine well. Allow to sit for another 45 minutes.
To cook, preheat a fry pan over a med-hot heat. Melt some butter to be able to continue to grease your pan as you cook your crumpets. Grease an egg ring and place onto your frypan that has also been greased. Spoon some of the mixture into the ring until it is filled and allow to cook until the bubbles break on the top of the crumpet. At this point you should be able to remove the ring and flip the crumpet to lightly brown on top. Continue until you have used all of your mixture.
Serve immediately hot with golden syrup or honey.
Happy Baking and Happy Eating,