I lived in the U.K. for a few years.
As such, I can be a little “Brit-ish” at times. Having warm crumpets with a cup of PG-tips on a rainy day was something I did in England, and it’s a habit I feel compelled to proliferate even though I now live in Seattle.
WHAT ARE CRUMPETS?
A crumpet is a small griddle cake from England and Wales. They are made from unsweetened batter of water/milk, flour, and yeast. These oil-free cakes originated during the 17th-century, but the modern-day crumpet was likely developed during the Victorian era. Crumpets are known for their cratered surface, which features lots of potholes.
I definitely have a soft spot for crumpets. They bring back memories of hanging out at my friend’s house in Enfield during rainy days. There’s something about those craters that trap, and oozes buttery gold, and jeweled jam in every morsel of bite that make them oh-so-delicious!
WHY MAKE CRUMPETS FROM SCRATCH?
The problem with living in America or anywhere outside of Britain for that matter, is that good British food items aren’t always easy to come by.
The only crumpets that I have found locally in Seattle so far, are from Trader Joe’s.I’ve never had them, because I try to be mindful about how much sodium I eat a day. One of those babies pack about 280mg of salt, or 12% of the recommended daily sodium intake. There’s also a brand called Duffy’s that you can get on Amazon. At 235mg, or 10% of the salt RDA, it’s still too salty for my liking. I imagine the British Pantry in Redmond might have leads, but it requires effort to make that trek.
It’s far easier, and cleaner, just to make them!
THE DINING HAPPY WAY
I was ready to never eat a decent crumpet again until I returned to the U.K. That is until my husband D (who is the baker in our household), got inspired to make them from one of the English Youtubers he watches.
D began his crumpet-making adventure using the Food Busker’s recipe. Unfortunately, JQ’s recipe makes a kilo’s worth of crumpets, which is too much for our small family. We also found them too dense, doughy, and too dry for our liking. In subsequent attempts, D experimented with different types of organic flours, and he also played around with water-to-flour ratios.
Alas, through trial and error, here is my husband’s perfected crumpet recipe. Once you get it down, it’s super easy to make. They are light, bouncy, and full of glorious potholes, without being too doughy.
TIPS FOR PERFECT CRUMPETS
HOW TO MIX THE BATTER
What is going to determine your success or failure will depend on a few factors.
Firstly, the way you mix the batter is important. You want to just mix the batter enough that it releases some of the binding properties of gluten to give it bounce, but not turn the cakes into rubbery pucks.
The Food Busker (and several other huge food bloggers) use their whisks, which activates too much gluten in my opinion. It is far better to use a silicone spatula to mix the batter. What we want are griddle cakes that are moist, and have some bounce. You should be able to sink your teeth comfortably into the crumpet, without feeling like you need to pull the cake away to tear a piece off.
WHAT EQUIPMENT TO USE & HOW TO COOK THE CRUMPETS
Secondly, you need 8cm-9cm ring molds that are about an inch high to shape the crumpet. You can get half a dozen of English muffin molds on Amazon for under $15. We use the Gobel tart molds that are made in France, because that’s what we have. They are just slightly bigger than the muffin ring molds (at 9cm), and they work beautifully.
Thirdly, how you cook the crumpet on the stove matters. Medium low and slow heat is the key here. Since these cakes don’t use oil, you’ll also want to use a good nonstick pan. We use the Korean-made, PFOA-free, TECHEF – Blooming Flower 12″ Wok/Stir-Fry Pan, which is coated 6 times with new Teflon platinum non-stick coating.
Using a nonstick pan helps your crumpets slide right off without sticking to the base of the pan.
This recipe uses a 1:1 water-to-flour ratio. The ratio varies only slightly, depending on the moisture content of your all-purpose flour. If the flour is fairly new, you’ll need a little less water. Sometimes my husband uses 2-3 tablespoons less water for flour that is more moist.
Make sure you slap the butter on when your crumpets are hot. You’ll want the butter to melt and sink into the potholes. Toast the griddle cakes lightly in a toaster oven, if you have to get it warm enough for the butter and jam to melt.
Once, you have them made, slather on the butter and jam! We use European butter and Bon Maman. You can also use any grass-fed butter, and higher quality jams that do not have citric acid in them.
ENJOY THESE HOLEY CRUMPETS!
- 12" nonstick pan
- silicone, or rubber spatula
- 8-9cm ring molds
- paring knife
- brush for oiling molds
- 1 cup organic all-purpose flour Whole Foods 365 brand
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp instant yeast SAF brand
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- 1 tsp vegetable oil for oiling the molds
- Warm the water in a pyrex or glass measuring cup, until the water is warm to the touch. We use 60% power for 45 secs on a 1200w, 1.3cu. microwave oven. You'll want to make sure the weater temp isn't too hot, or it might kills the yeast.
- Mix the yeast with 2 tbsp warm water in a small bowl until completely dissolved.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a dry, large mixing bowl.
- Add the yeast solution to flour mixture and mix.
- Add the rest of the warm water to flour mixture in small increments and mix well to prevent any clumps
- Once all water is incorporated and the batter is clump free, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Cooking the crumpets
- Use a non-stick pan and set the stove on medium heat (we want the crumpet to cook slowly). Getting the heat setting right will take some trial and error as each stove is different.
- Oil ring molds and let warm up in pan (I used a traditional French tart ring (Gobel brand), dimensions are 3.54” diameter, 0.8” height)
- Once the pan is hot, pour batter into each ring mold using a ladle.
- Cook for about 8-9 min until bottom is lightly brown and edges are separating from the ring molds.
- Separate the crumpets from the molds with a knife, and flip to cook the top side for an additional minute.
- Serve warm with butter/jam or your favorite nut butter.
- Butter – For the ultimate experience, use high-quality grass-fed butter from Europe. Echire butter from France, Finlandia, or Kerry Gold Irish butter works beautifully.
- Jam – Use jam that does not have citric acid in them. French jams like Bon Maman, or St. Dalfour will give you a better experience.