An easy crumpet recipe
Albert Comper 14 April 2009
with glutenfree option
I love to cook and bake but I am impatient.I love to try new things but I also get anxious about new things - not a greatcombination! So, after about two yearsof thinking about it, I finally looked into something that I have always wantedto make at home: crumpets.
I don't know why, but crumpets alwaysseemed like one of those foods that you just couldn't make yourself at home. Inretrospect I'm not sure why, as in the past I have attempted nougat, vanillaslice, Turkish delight and even soft eating liquorice (which almost worked, butto be fair I didn't really have a recipe for it and just guessed the ingredientsand how to make it!) yet crumpets seemed untouchable.
I must admit that I don't own all that manycook books. This is partially becausethere are a lot of cook books around with recipes that are not actually tested- they are more a chef/personality reckoning that it ought to taste good. So when I want a recipe, my usual MO is to seekit out on the interweb, gather at least half a dozen, combine and reduce them,write them out my own way, lose the paper I wrote it down on and make it upfrom what I remember.
What I remembered about the crumpet recipewas that is was really really easy, except that I have never baked with yeastbefore, so...
1 sachet bakers yeast (7 grams)
2 cups plain flour (you can use gluten freeflour or spelt, it just changes the texture)
1 ½ cups warm water (one recipe called forblood temperature and I thought "who the hell knows what blood temp feels like- unless you have handled enough of it to really get it on your hands - weird)
1 teaspoon (heaped) salt
Optional castor sugar between 1 - 2tablespoons.
Butter for greasing.
There are other recipes that involved milkand eggs as well, however I haven't tried them because I really try and adhereto the KISS principle - that is, Keep It Simple Stupid.
Put the yeast in small bowl and add around¼ cup of the warm water to the yeast and mix well. Let it stand while you siftthe dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Add the remainder of the waterto the flour mix and mix well, try and remove all the lumps. Now combine theyeast to the flour mix and continue to blend until you get a mixture thatshould have a consistency that could pour. Now comes the wait. Cover the bowlwith a tea towel and let it stand for 50 - 60 minutes in a warm area (I stickmine on top of my old oven with the oven on low) to let the mix rise, it shoulddouble in volume by the time you are ready to cook.
This is usually where I lose interestbecause now I have 60 minutes to wait, but I am reading Watchmen at the moment,I have seen the film, and I was interested to see what the book was like. Iwill finish it but at the moment the important verb in the previous sentencewas "was."
After an hour the mix has risen, I amalways amazed that it actually works! Now this is important - you need a coupleof crumpet rings, 4 is best. Crumpet rings sort of look like egg rings, butthey have a little more height. I didn't have any crumpet rings, I still don't,but the first time I just used what I had in my draw which was some cookiecutters and egg rings and they worked really well. Apparently you can get crumpetrings from kitchen utensil stores, I just found some egg rings with neathandles that fit the bill perfectly - you just have to shop around till youfind what you want. I have even used an angel shaped cookie cutter to greateffect. Angel crumpet - food of the gods.
Preheat a non-stick fry pan, use a mediumheat, and grease up the "crumpet" ring with some butter, it doesn't hurt to puta little butter in the bottom of the pan as well, despite it being non stick.Place the rings in the pan and pour the crumpet mix into the rings so that it basicallyfills the rings up. The mix will start to bubble up like a pancake just beforeyou flip it, however you just keep the crumpet going until the top of thecrumpet dries out. Sometimes the top of the crumpet dries out completely on itsown, other times I flip the crumpet and cook it a little on the top, I find itis not a bad idea to flip them to cook them on the top just to golden brown itup. Now they are ready to be served, although my girlfriend likes to put themin the toaster after they come out of the pan to crisp them up a bit. I don'thave a definitive length of time for how long the crumpets need to cook in thepan, basically, be vigilant with your cooking and know that if they are burnt,you have probably over-cooked them and you should have been watching what youwere cooking!
Now serve them up, they are ready to eatand I have never tasted anything like freshly cooked crumpets, just plainbutter on them is amazing and better than any packet brand I have evertasted. If you let them get cold, justput them in the toaster and toast them up as normal. I have found that theyeven last overnight really well to be toasted the next day. Either way, home made crumpets have me hooked.
Notes on optional extras:
Sugar: adding sugar changes the consistencyand naturally the flavour of the crumpets as well. The yeast does well with alittle sugar and it seems to make the crumpets a little fluffier. You can addup to 2 tablespoons of sugar to the recipe to good effect; however it works reallywell without any sugar. I recommend adding around a table spoon of sugar tomake the crumpet a little fluffier, without making them sweet.
Gluten free flour: I was doing a breakfastin and cooking crumpets for some friends, however one of the guests noted thatshe wouldn't be able to eat them as she was gluten intolerant, or was it justwheat intolerant? I wasn't really listening, but I was interested to see if crumpetscould be made with gluten free flour. So I have tried to make them with glutenfree flour, gluten free bread mix (I read that using the bread mix is good formaking pastries and thought it would be good to try) and spelt as well, forjust the wheat intolerant. Good news is that if you like to eat crumpets andare gluten intolerant, gluten free flour works really well and spelt works evenbetter. The gluten free bread mix just doesn't work, but just substitute the regularflour with the gluten free flour of your choice or the spelt and away you go!