I woke up craving crumpets. I must have been revisiting Seattle in my sleep. It's been 15 years since I lived there, but when I feel the desert heat rising like it is now, and my skin drying up like an old prune, I long for the place I grew up.
There was a little shop across from the Pike Place Market that served the most wonderful crumpets with a variety of toppings. It wasn't a restaurant, just a little tea and gourmet foods shop with no real place to sit and eat, but oh, those crumpets! The smell of the teas and spices was so wonderful, and the crumpets were so delicious, I didn't mind standing in the long lines waiting for my turn to order. And the lines were always long. I wonder if that shop is still there...
Anyway, seeing as how my cross-country trip won't be happening THIS summer, I decided to try making my own crumpets.
Anyone who has ever had a real crumpet could never again be satisfied with those disgusting imitation "English Muffins" sold in grocery stores. YUCK! But I've never tried to make my own crumpets. This could either be an interesting challenge, or a strange chemistry experiment. Me and yeast, together in the same room. Hmmmm...
I found a place to buy crumpet rings (here's a source in Australia that has handles, which I would prefer, but the international shipping would cost as much as the rings!), and good instructions and the following recipe from World Recipes: English Crumpets:
7 1/8 ounces Strong white flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
3/8 cup Milk
2 1/8 teaspoons Dried yeast
1 pn Bicarb of Soda
Fat for frying
Strong white flour is the type bakers use for bread dough. High in gluten in makes a good risen batter or dough. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Gently warm the milk to just hand hot and sprinkle on the dried yeast. Leave to stand for 10 or 15 minutes until frothy. Add the yeast mix to flour and beat to a smooth batter. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to stand in a warm place for 45 minutes, or the batter has doubled in size. Dissolve the bicarb in 15ml of warm water and beat it into the batter. Cover again and leave to stand for a further 20 minutes. Place a 3 inch metal pastry cutter into a hot greased fry pan. Pour in about table spoon of the batter to cover the base thinly. Cook until the top is set and the bubbles have burst. Remove it from the ring, turn the crumpet over and cook the other side for 2 or 3 minutes only. It should just colour slightly. Cool on a wire rack.
There's another recipe here, and another here, but they're all very similar. The only strange one I found was called a Scottish Crumpet, and from the description, it sounds more like what I would call a crepe. I think some Scots cook got her recipes a little mixed up there.
Wish me luck!