One Saturday afternoon, we were talking some trash about one of our slow friends, “you are so slow we could have had tea and crumpets waiting for you.” Well one thing led to another, and I asked WTF is a crumpet. It isn’t like I have ever had one, and they certainly don’t carry them in my market. Enterprising individual that I am, I did know they were similar to English Muffins, so I stopped by my suburban big box Bed, Bath, and Beyond to purchase some crumpet rings. When I asked, the way the attendant looked at me you might have thought I was looking for a moon rock, like I was totally stupid. Plan B, Amazon – I guess I am not going to make these today anyway. So I search for crumpet rings, buy some (under $10 on Amazon, qualifies for Super Saver shipping with $25 purchase), and a couple of days later a box of Fox Run English Muffin rings shows up on my doorstep. Not one word on the box about crumpets. Duh – perhaps I should have asked the BBBY for English Muffin rings, maybe I would have these a week ago…
One requirement down, now I have to find a recipe. Enter Jayne, the Barefoot Kitchen Witch; I don’t have a clue in the world of who she is or anything else about her other than she seemed to experiment with some crumpet recipes and that seemed to be just what I was looking for. Anyway, I made her second recipe because it seemed like her first try was epic fail. OK, I admit, I make this pretty regularly now. Let me give you some tips on her recipe:
I measure the flour by weight. I always need to thin the batter with ~ 1 cup of water to get it to the consistency I like, so don’t just measure the flour with a measuring cup and think it is going to work. It won’t, unless you are extremely delicate and sift the flour before measuring at which point you may have a chance. Pack that measuring cup the way most hacks scoop flour, and you are going to have a dense, doughy mess. I measure by weight and I still end up with a dense, doughy mess unless I add a good amount of water. Make these crumpets with too thick of a batter and you will not get the void space.
In the interest of disclosure, I use Fleischmann’s yeast. I always use Fleischmann’s yeast; it has never let me down (and they don’t pay me to say this, although if they desire to send me a check I might not turn it down…)
While she cooks on a hot griddle, hot seems to be a pretty wide range of temperatures. When my pan is between 375F-425F, it works. Get outside this range, it doesn’t. Buy a noncontact infrared thermometer; the Chinese have knocked every dime out of the production costs of these and we might as well take advantage of it. On my electric cooktop, this corresponds to between “2” and “3.” When my pan gets to 425F, I turn it from “3” to “2.” And when it gets to 375F, I turn it up from “2” to “3.” Your cooktop is obviously different, use the temperature as your guide.
And when I keep this in the temperature range, I cook six (6) minutes on the first side and find that the crumpet rings release at right around three minutes (3). After six (6) minutes I flip them and cook two (2) minutes on the second side to dry the tops out. My pictures look just like Jayne’s, so at least we are consistent.
If you have a #16 scoop (16 scoops/quart), use it. Otherwise use a ¼ cup measure. While Jayne gets twelve (12) crumpets per batch, I just made these using ¼ cup/ring and I ended up with 23 crumpets. Maybe she is using larger crumpet rings than I am, maybe I add more water, which again goes to show that a recipe is a starting point and you can’t follow it blindly (and you certainly can’t blame the test chef for your failure later). Anyway I find if I make them thicker that I don’t get the same void space, and if I make them thinner they don’t fill the ring.
Now I don’t have a clue in the world as to authenticity. I have never been to Merry Olde England, and my local megamart doesn’t carry these. However if you are used to eating English Muffins, you will find these greatly superior.
[Get crumpet/melted cheese image]
And in the interest of further offending those proper Brits as I knock off one of their traditions, my favorite topping is a slice of Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar; put a slice on top when it comes out of the toaster and it will melt into all those craters – Perfection. My second choice is nut butter (almond is my favorite). And lacking either one of these, I use quality sweet creamery butter, which is really nice because it melts all the way through the crumpet.
These are dead simple to make, good luck finding them if you don’t make them, and they taste great. Let me know how yours turn out.