I love crumpets, and for a long time, I’ve been looking for crumpet rings. Not exactly hunting for them, but keeping an eye open. If you go into pretty much any department store with a well stocked kitchen department, and ask if they carry crumpet rings, you’re bound to get a blank stare. I’ve not even seen any in second-hand shops, perhaps because if the store gets them in, no one knows what they are.
We recently got a new kitchen shop, Maison Cookware, in Nanaimo, and of course I was there quite quickly to check them out. They didn’t have crumpet rings in stock, but knew what they were and ordered them in for me. They arrived in less than a week! Definitely worth a visit, if you’re in the Nanaimo area!
The morning after I picked them up was crumpet day. I went through quite a few of my books looking for a suitable recipe. I was originally going to try a baking powder crumpet recipe, but in the end, the flavour of yeast won out. I love yeast baking, and it’s almost always worth the extra time!
I used the recipe from my Grandma’s copy of Cooking With Elizabeth Craig, which she bought in Sweeten’s Bookshop, in Preston, England when she was there in the summer of 1963. Judging by the numerous margin notes and amendments to recipes, she got a fair bit out use out of the book, particularly the cakes, puddings and breads sections. It seems she preferred the Canadian system of volume measures to the English weights, since she had noted in “3 cups” where it says 1 lb of flour in many recipes, and other weight to cup conversions too. Crumpets was one of the recipes she had made notes on.
The hardest part of making the crumpets was the waiting. I love the process and the flavour of baking with yeast, but the waiting…. especially for breakfast!!!
I mixed everything up quickly and added the milk. This part was a bit of a challenge, since it calls for enough milk to make a batter slightly thicker than you’d want for pancakes. I like my pancakes thick and fluffy, so I tend to make the batter thicker than normal, so I made the batter about as thick as I’d make for pancakes. I set it in the oven to rise and then waited, getting hungrier and hungrier for the hour and a half.
The batter was a lovely light sponge when I took it out. I greased my crumpet rings while the pan was heating, then put them into the pan and filled them. The crumpets puffed up beautifully, but never developed the characteristic holes in the top. I think the batter was too thick, so next time I made them, I’ll make it quite a bit thinner and see how that works.
These were wonderfully light, delicious crumpets. The recipe is as follows:
1/2 oz yeast
1 lb flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Tepid milk or water
Stir the yeast to a cream. Sift flour with salt into a basin. Beat egg lightly and stir into yeast, then dilute with 1/2 pint liquid heated to 98° F. Stir in the flour and beat well till smooth, adding more tepid liquid till you get a smooth batter slightly thicker than that required for pancakes. Cover and allowed to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. Pour batter into rings on a hot girdle, and cook till done, turning once only. Serve toasted and buttered, and rolled up, if liked.