My sister spurred a quest for me. She didn’t mean to do it, but she did. Sometimes sisters are like that.
She posted a blogpost about making English Muffins which got me thinking about crumpets. In case you didn’t know, my husband is British and he misses his crumpets, although he doesn’t drink tea; he’s a rebel in that regard. The local supermarket used to carry them, but stopped. I can buy them at specialty stores, but they are extremely expensive. I needed to make my own.
I queried, and Lynn sent me a link to the King Arthur Flour recipe. I attempted it, although not having crumpet rings, I was reduced to a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter. Cute little crumpet-y things with a stem, but it wasn’t right. The flavor was good, but they were either too dough-y, didn’t rise enough or didn’t have enough holes to allow the butter to pool.
I did my own search, working Internet recipes, American cookbook recipes, 40 year old British recipes and still have no discovered the perfect recipe and technique.
Any good quest is ongoing and involves a lot of discovery. Here is my treasure trove of tidbits to date:
- The batter must be ridiculously billowy. Let it rise till you think it can’t rise any further. When you ladle it into your rings, there should be no hint of glutinous adhesion, more like some sort of Halloween ghoulish phlegm. How’s *that* for a word picture? Makes you want to run out and bake all the sooner, doesn’t it?
- The pan must be pre-heated to a medium temperature, then immediately reduced to low. The higher heat allows the bottom to seal and the lower temperature gives the crumpet time to fully cook without scorching the bottom.
- There is disagreement in the baking world over whether or not the crumpet should be turned over and cooked on the 2nd side. Right now I’m leaning toward the notion of 2-3 minutes on its white bits is a good thing. The top should NOT resemble the bottom however. Make an english muffin if that is what you’re going for. Lynn’s recipe is recommended highly. They are addictive, especially with ham, which your other sister couldn’t resist buying. The only thing it still needs is ….. booze, and that of course is an inside joke from our sister visit time this month.
- Your expert taste tester, in this case my husband, will gain 50 pounds if he eats all the samples from each of the batches, all smothered in butter.
Not having grown up with a mother who taught me how to do them properly, and not even having eaten more than 2 in my life, I decided to avail myself of an “on the ground” baker, Melinda, a friend and co-blogger of my sister who lives in the UK. I shot her off an email with no more of an introduction than “Lynn’s sister,” and was delighted to find her not only willing to help, but charming and delightful as well. She wanted to know why I didn’t food blog, so Melinda, this post is for you. If you look at the pictures on my lamb postings, you’ll know why I don’t quit my day job 😀