I have never quite understood what a crumpet is until today when I decided to make some. For all you Canadian types out there: a crumpet = an english muffin (maybe you know this, maybe you don’t… i did not). I used a recipe from the Larousse Gastronomique and wasn’t thrilled with it, so here is my tweaked version. Note: you will need some 3″ metal rings (regular cutters, or cookies cutters will work) to cook the crumpets in as well as one or two small frying pans. A small offset spatula makes flipping them considerably easier.
makes about 12 crumpets
1 Tbsp granular yeast (bread machine yeast, quick active yeast, instant yeast, etc)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp tepid water
Combine yeast, water and sugar in a small bowl and set aside to activate while preparing the other ingredients.
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
150 mL milk
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp melted (salted) butter
Put the flour in a medium-sized mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the milk and the beaten egg. Add the yeast mixture. Use a fork to pull the flour in little by little until well combined, then use a spatula or wooden spoon to beat the mixture until quite smooth. Add the butter and work it into the batter until it is once again smooth. Cover the bowl and set it in a warm place until doubled in volume.
Meanwhile melt another tablespoon of butter. Prepare your small frying pans (I picked up two non-stick 4″ frying pans at Safeway not too long ago for $4 each, they worked splendidly for this.) Butter two round metal rings and place them in the frying pans, use a bit of spray oil on the bottom of the pan within the ring. Once the batter has double gently pull it down off the sides of the bowl to deflate it slightly. Heat your pans on medium heat and use two large tablespoons to fill the rings with batter (one to scoop, the other to push the batter off the first spoon). Dip one finger in a bit of melted butter and lightly even out the batter within the ring if necessary.
Turn the heat down to medium low. Let the crumpet fry on one side until you begin to see bubbles all over the top of it (similar to a pancake) then gently lift the ring a smidge, insert your offset spatula underneath, and flip the whole thing over. Let it fry for about two minutes on this side. Once it is close to being cooked the ring should slip off the crumpet without sticking. Leave it in the pan until nicely browned on both sides then remove it to a plate covered with foil. Repeat with the remaining batter until it is all used up.
I have read that crumpets are best made in advance, then sliced, toasted and served with butter, jam and tea…. but I ate one right away and it was perfect, spongy and delicious. Mmmm. If you have never tried making these before I heartily recommend it. If you feel a little bit creative you could always add to the batter: some ground flax, use whole wheat flour, add some wheat germ, or even add a small handful of plumped currants. Healthify. Yo.
Making this recipe reminded me of something else that I always want to emphasize. Know where your food comes from! My mom has eaten english muffins for as long as I have known her, and it never even occurred to me to try making them before now. These were a snap. The batter only took a few minutes to put together, and frying them was quick and easy.
Try it out, you might surprise yourself.