June 16, 2014

Homemade Crumpets

 So, what on earth is a crumpet? Anyone? Well, I know I have at least a handful of British readers out there, and you guys and gals are all over it. But for the rest of us, they just plain don't exist in the States. I have no idea about the rest of the world. but I would still be willing to bet they aren't exactly common. When I was a kid, there was a movie called "The Great Mouse Detective", an animated mouse version of Sherlock Holmes, and the Mrs. Hudson mouse made cheese crumpets. It was apparently made by an American who has never seen a crumpet, because they looked like muffins. So of course, my 9 year old self thought that's what they were. False advertising, I tell you!! The best way to describe crumpets is a cross between an English muffin and a pancake. And they're awesome, and my boys can devour a dozen in the blink of an eye. I'm going to have to start making triple batches and freezing them. Luckily, they're also an absolute cinch to make!

Homemade Crumpets (inspired by King Arthur Flour)
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk
2 Tb melted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt

Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. The batter should resemble cake batter. If it is too thick, add water, 1/4 cup at a time. If is it too watery, add 1/4 cup flour at a time. Cover and let sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.

When your hour of resting is nearly up, preheat a griddle to medium-low, about 325-350 degrees. (A frying pan will work too, not quite as hot as you would cook pancakes.)

Lightly grease the griddle/frying pan, and place well-greased English muffin rings (3-4 inch) on the griddle/pan, as many as will fit. (English muffin rings are pretty cheap, but you can also make your own by removing the top and bottom of clean tuna cans. Egg rings work too!)

Your batter should be full of bubbles and risen a LOT. Scoop out a scant 1/4 cup of batter. (The batter will be a little bit stretchy, like yeast dough, but still thin enough to pour and spread.) Pour batter into each ring. It might need a bit of encouragement, so gently help it spread to the edges of the ring, with a greased spoon or your finger.

When the bubbles at the very edge pop and do not re-fill, but turn into little holes, like this:
...use a pair of tongs to gently remove the rings. Careful, they're hot!! Cook the crumpets for a total of about 10 minutes on the first side, until the tops are full of small bubbles/holes, and looking dry and wrinkly around the edges.
Time to carefully flip them! If the uncooked side looks full of unpopped bubbles, give the crumpets a firm tap or two against the griddle while they're balanced on your spatula, to pop those bubbles before flipping.

Cook the crumpets for about 5-8 minutes, until the tops (holey side) is toasted golden brown.

Remove the crumpets from the griddle/pan, re-grease your rings, and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm. Or cool completely, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature. (Apparently they also freeze very well!) To enjoy, warm in the toaster. Serve with butter, jam, syrup, honey, lemon curd, cream cheese, just about any of your favorite toppings!
Pretty simple, yes? I think there is a theme going here with British food... a theme I like! So my first batch, which were just as delicious, didn't have quite as many of those lovely little holes, and that just won't do. Because you see, the whole point of a crumpet...
 ...Is to be smothered in butter, allowing it to melt and pool in all those little holes. The King Arthur Flour blog calls them "Butter's Best Friend" and I absolutely agree. My boys don't even LIKE butter, but Stephen had butter practically dripping off his, AND jam AND honey. Doesn't do food by halves, that boy. Delicious little pools of butter...
 ... on and inside a funny little bread/cake, with a hint of the tang and chew of an English muffin, and the soft fluffy inside of a pancake. You can slice them in half and toast them, or toast them the way they are, and get those adorable holes all crisped up, the better to hold more butter!
Joe's condiment of choice is honey, always. Stephen created "honeybutterjam", and quite a mess, while The Geologist insists that you need a few with honey and a few with jam and alternate between the two. I'll let you decide. I think they're simply scrumptious no matter what you put on them!!

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