26 May 2010

Crumpets by Be My Guest

 I have tried to cut down on my carb intake in the last few years but I will always estole the virtue of anything with yeast or "yeast related" that will give me that soul satisfying aroma, taste and texture. One of my quests has been to find a British crumpet that will not only satisfy my cravings but remind me of my childhood. When sick, or tired, or far from home, I seem to yearn for the gastronomic equivalent of a warm sweater, a kiss on the forehead, or the comfort of a favourite blanket I can wrap myself up in.

One of my favourite childhood breakfast foods was the crumpet, or as my British parents called them pikelets. Although this is not my ultimate comfort food, they are high on the list and do remind me of home and simpler times.

If you are Australian you will know what a pikelet is. The Australians do the pikelet well as I have discovered with my previous successes of Corn Pikelets with Fresh Tomato Salsa and Blueberry Buttermilk Crumpets. Pikelets or crumpets have been a favorite of Aussie, Kiwi and British kids for decades. And who can blame them? What’s not to love!!!! I have fond memories of waking up to find a plate of pikelets waiting for me. They weren’t the homemade kind but they were still delicious with copious amounts of melted butter oozing from every nook and cranny!!! Mom always served them with fried tomatoes with the pikelets as the foile to scoop up every last bit of tomato juice left on the plate. I am licking my lips as we speak!!!

The word pikelet is a British regional dialect word which originally referred to a flatter, free form variety of crumpet. It is of course just a crumpet, in my mind's eye being one and the same.  Some people call them pancakes but they are nothing like a pancake really which is light and fluffy ,whereas, a pikelet is... not.

A crumpet/pikelet is often served with jam and whipped cream.  I love mine simply spread with butter. A crumpet has all kinds of nooks and crannies. When toasted and buttered, the melted butter oozes into these holes, producing a crispy, buttery honeycomb with a crunchy exterior.  I have done some experimenting in recent years and did get a satisfactory result with a recipe from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum. Try this version by my friend Peter at Souvlaki for the Soul. Pikelets made his way!! How's about Banana Pikelets, Chestnut Pikelets, Pikelets with Berries and Yogurt or Sweet Potato Pikelets. They will make a great weekend breakfast whatever you choose and they're really simple to make.

The last time I was in Seattle I met up with a number of Seattle area food bloggers including my long time friend Lynn of Cookie Baker Lynn. Jan Marie Johnson of Seattle Bites Food Tours generously took us on one of her informative and innovative foodie tours as we flitted through Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle sampling Nutella and banana crepes, authentic New York pastrami and award-winning clam chowder (just a few "bites" on this culinary adventure). Before I met up with the group I wandered around the market visiting Sur la Table, and the cheese and pastry shops as well as revisiting The Crumpet Shop for several dozen cumpets to take home. Lynn knew I was on a quest for the perfect cumpets/pikelets so kindly sent me her sisters recipe for crumpets from her sisters' blog Be My Guest. You will find her sisters suggestions and  recipe for crumpets here. Follow their suggestions and you will have the perfect crumpet for breakfast or afternoon tea. Thanks Lynn!!!!

Adapted from The Bread Book by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake
(makes about 16 crumpets)
3 2/3 cups bread flour
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 ¼ cups lukewarm water
1 ½ teaspoon regular salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup lukewarm milk

a griddle or cast-iron frying pan
Crumpet rings, about 3 ½ inches diameter, greased

 Sift together the flours and cream of tartar, sugar, yeast and salt into a mixer bowl. Add yeast and salt so they are not touching initially (salt can kill the yeast, and you don’t want that to happen) With the paddle attachment mix all the dry ingredients so they are well blended, about 2 minutes.

Add the lukewarm water to the dry ingredients and mix with paddle attachment for 8 minutes until the batter is smooth.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm spot until the batter rises until doubled which takes about an 1 hour.

Dissolve the baking soda in the lukewarm milk. Then gently stir it into the batter. The batter should not be too stiff or your crumpets will be “blind” — without holes – so it is best to test one before cooking the whole batch.

Heat a very clean griddle or frying pan over moderately low heat for about 3 minutes until very hot then grease lightly with a vegetable oil.

Put a well-greased crumpet ring on the griddle. Spoon or pour 1/3 cup of the batter into the ring. The amount of batter will depend on the size of your crumpet ring.

As soon as the batter is poured into the ring, it should begin to form holes. If holes do not form, add a little more lukewarm water, a tablespoon at a time, to the batter in the bowl and try again. If the batter is too thin and runs out under the ring, gently work in a little more all-purpose flour and try again. Once the batter is the proper consistency, continue with the remaining batter, cooking the crumpets in batches, three or four at a time. As soon as the top surface is set and covered with holes, 8 to 10 minutes, the crumpet is ready to flip over.

 To flip the crumpet, remove the ring with a towel or tongs, then turn the crumpet carefully with a spatula. The top, cooked side should be chestnut brown. Cook the second, holey side of the crumpet for 2 to 3 minutes, or until pale golden. The crumpet should be about ¾ inch thick. Remove the crumpet from the griddle and finish in a 350 ยบ oven for about 5 minutes. Grease the crumpet rings well after each use.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. That is a speciality I LOVE! Your crumpets are very pretty!



  2. This was so beautifully written Val!
    Love the English china in the background.. everything looks lovely!

  3. I've never had these. They sounds like a delicious treat. I can't believe I missed the Crumpet Shop when I was in Seattle.

  4. AnonymousMay 26, 2010

    These crumpets look so yummy! I would love to have one right now!

  5. I love the lessons with your recipes!! Now to dig out that crumpet ring...
    xoxo Pattie

  6. Never heard them called pikelets. Kind of cute! These look great and something I'll have to try. Sound good with all that oozing butter.

  7. Never thought of making my own crumpets. I like mine slathered with some lemon curd (with maybe a little butter underneath!)

  8. I love your crumpets/pikelets, look really nice and lovely!! hugs

    Nice recipe

  9. I just "wandered" over--my first visit! I enjoyed browsing through your posts. Can you believe I have never had a crumpet. I must put that on my "to do" list!

  10. I've always found Linda Collister's recipes to be very reliable...therefore, I'm sure that now that I know what Pikelets are...I don't need to be intimidated by a foreign entity;o)
    It was very generous of you to refer to so many versions of this recipe.
    I'm glad that crumpets can give you comfort. Now, maybe it can one day be added to my list too!
    Thanks for sharing and flavourful wishes, Claudia

  11. What a treat! I've never had homemade crumpets, but I can imagine how delicious they must be. I love them really toasted with a pat of butter and some apricot jam. Great job, Val!

  12. Oooh....beautiful crumpets. I love to spread butter on hot crumpets and see it melt into the holes :D

  13. Ah! So a pikelet is a crumpet. Awesome...I've never had either =( boo hoo...I guess I'm gonna have to make some myself. Each time I see them I want them...they sound great, Val!

  14. Val, I don't believe I've ever eaten a crumpet. Looks like I'm missing something special. A beautifully written post Val, about comfort food and the simpler times.

  15. A lovely post - fitting for the those scrumptious and comforting crumpets. (I confess to buying them and not making them). Crumpets do love pretty china. I think their setting enhances the flavor.

  16. The crumpet shop at Pike Market in Seattle is my favorite place to buy them, warm and oozing with butter and jam...wish I had one right this minute. Thanks for the recipe, Val, it will be fun to make them at home.

  17. Hmmm, crumpets. I don't believe I've ever had one before. Will add these to my growing list of foods that simply must be tried!

  18. You have my mouth watering with talk of toasted crumpets dripping with butter. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm :P

  19. I so loved your crumpet backstory. I make them for my grandsons who adore them and now turn there noses up at English muffins. I'll have to give your recipe a try. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  20. I don't know how anyone would be able to resist those crumpets. They're almost begging to be slathered with jam and cream cheese. Terrific!

  21. i guess i've never had a true pikelet or crumpet, and that's rather sad. these look like something i'd really enjoy, particularly if copious butter was involved... :)

  22. while of course I don't know you, I always think of you when I see pikelets anywhere. and, I have introduced them to many people b/c of you.

  23. Love crumpets, and these look delicious! Cutting down on carbs is for the birds. ;)

  24. Crumpets! Love that word. So tea-party-esque. Makes me happy to be a girl!

  25. My neighbor was in Seattle and brought me back the best crumpets. Warm with honey and butter.

  26. AnonymousJuly 25, 2012

    Thank you for the link! Making crumpets is a great adventure and well worth the effort.


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