“Crumpets bear a close similarity to English muffins and to English muffin bread. Rather soggy and holey, they must be toasted and treated to quantities of butter and good homemade jam.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread
Last night I made my last recipe from the “Griddle Breads” section of Beard on Bread: Crumpets. To make crumpets, you mix up a thick batter and cook it in metal rings on a hot griddle. If you’re frugal (like me), you may want to try a test batch of crumpets before you invest in a set of crumpet rings. In that case, Beard recommends using empty tuna cans with the tops and bottoms removed. I do not recommend using empty tuna cans, because your crumpets will become adhered the the cans, you will make a mess trying to get them out, and then you will be reduced to cooking an entire batch of crumpets using one small round cookie cutter.
Anyway, back to the beginning. Here are the ingredients:
Even though no kneading is required, the batter does need to rise twice. I made the crumpets last night, so they would be ready for breakfast this morning.
The batter mixed up nicely, and I poured the batter into my two tuna can rings. Everything seemed to be going well until I tried to remove the tuna can and flip over the crumpet to cook the other side. I tried gently lifting up the can–the crumpet didn’t budge. I tried loosening the edges with a knife–the crumpet refused to dislodge. Finally, I held the can upside and shook it, spraying batter across my kitchen, but at least finally separating the crumpet from the tuna can. Then, I got to repeat the process with Crumpet #2.
Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to a night of fighting with tuna cans and crumpet batter. The only other round, ring-like object I have is a small round cookie cutter that I use for making biscuits. It worked wonderfully as an impromptu crumpet ring–the only problem is that it takes a long time (about 45 minutes) to make a batch of crumpets when you can only make one at a time. I tried using my pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, but I couldn’t get the crumpet out because batter got stuck in the pumpkin stem.
It took much longer that it needed to, but I managed to make a nice-looking batch of crumpets.
Mike and I ate our crumpets for breakfast this morning, toasted and with my mother’s delicious homemade strawberry jam. Crumpets are somewhat like English muffins, only better: they are light and spongy, with a delicate texture. For anyone who is curious, here is a nice blog post outlining the difference between crumpets and English muffins.
Since the crumpets were such a success, I bought a set of 4 crumpet rings. If you want to try crumpets, I recommend that you do the same–I haven’t tried the rings out yet, but they have to be better than a pumpkin cookie cutter.