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Crumpets or Pikelets, a spongy treat

November 16, 2010
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Now that I’ve complained sufficiently about the lack of biscuits here, I should take some time to lavish praise on the crumpets. When I was leaving for the UK, I told people I’d be having tea and crumpets every afternoon. I didn’t even know what a crumpet was, and certainly thought I was kidding at the time, but now they are a daily occurrence.

Of course, luckily for my pocketbook, I learned how to make them from scratch, so I make a batch about once a week.

It’s kind of hard to describe the texture of crumpets – they’re a bit like a chewier English muffin. Their simple, yeasty taste and characteristic holes make them the perfect vehicle for butter, jam, and (gasp) Marmite.

Traditional crumpets are allowed to rise in specialized rings so they get holey tops. Here’s an example from the grocery store:

Of course, since I am determined not to buy any one-use-tools, my crumpets aren’t as perfect-looking, but they sure are tasty. I simply drop them on a frying pan and they don’t have the “holey” side, but the internal texture is nearly the same – chewy and spongy. According to Joy of Cooking, crumpets cooked with this method are called Pikelets. (I confirmed this on Wikipedia, which is good enough for me.)

Name digressions aside, mix one package of yeast in 2 T warm water. I love the smell of this – is that weird?

Add 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt and  1 1/2 cups warm milk. (Cold milk will kill the yeast, or at least keep it from doin’ its thing.)

Stir in 2 1/2 cups flour and walk away. Seriously, that’s it.

Leave the dough for about 3 hours until it rises and then collapses on itself. (This is the part that makes this a good Sunday-afternoon project.)

Drop the batter in 1/4 – cupfuls on a hot, buttered skillet. The heat and quick-cooking time is important for the nooks and crannies. Cook until the bottom is browned and then flip.

Eat with your favorite spread. Because the recipe is so simple, you can pretty much put anything on it, from butter and jam to cream cheese and lox.


Recipe from Joy of Cooking (which has turned out to have a wealth of British recipes, go figure)

Makes 12-16 Pikelets
Takes about 3½ hours, with 20 minutes of active prep/cooking time

2 Tablespoons warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 package (2¼ teaspoons yeast)
1½ cups warm milk (~100°F)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2½ cups all-purpose flour
Butter for the skillet

1. Combine yeast and water in a small bowl and let stand until the yeast it dissolved, about 5 minutes.
2. Combine the milk, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture and combine.
3. Add flour and stir until all of the flour is incorporated into a sticky dough.
4. Cover with a towel and let rise until the dough expands and then collapses on itself, about 3 hours.
5. Drop the dough by ¼-cupfuls on a hot skillet, greased with butter. Once the bottom is lightly-browned, flip over to brown the other side. It should take 2-3 minutes per side.
6. Eat while warm, slathered with whatever you like. Once cool, these keep very well in a sealed container on the counter and are delicious toasted.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Aunt Chrissy permalink
    November 16, 2010 11:36 pm

    I like honey on mine, or clotted cream. And, no, it is not weird to love the smell of yeast…or maybe it is, but I adore it…smells like something coming alive. I think Eden must have smelled like this.

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