Saturday, March 14, 2009

In search of the perfect crumpet...

I am of Irish decent and have been lucky enough to travel to the UK several times. Each time, I've discovered all kinds of new treats - including the ever delicious crumpet. For those of you unfamiliar with these, they're almost like a cross between a pancake and an English muffin. Soft and slightly sweet, filled with tons of little nooks and crannies to hold butter or jam (or clotted cream, when in the UK). I found crumpets at our local grocery store one time and brought them home to introduce Mr. ValleyWriter to them. He was hooked and has been asking for them ever since, but I haven't been able to find any for months and months.

So, this morning I figured, I've got "skillz," I'll make my own crumpets! I scoured the Internet and ended adapting a recipe from The Barefoot Kitchen Witch. I tweaked her recipe slightly based on some other recipes I found that looked like they produced fatter crumpets (The Barefoot Kitchen Witch's crumpets look perfect in terms of nooks and crannies, but they're a little flat compared to what I'm used to.)

What I got was very tasty, but definitely closer to an English muffin than to a crumpet. I'm not sure exactly what went wrong, but they never really bubbled on the top. I'm wondering if maybe I needed a little more liquid, since it's been really dry in our house (and therefore our flour is dry). I know that sometimes happens with bread recipes I make in the winter...

Anyway - I'm still in search for the ultimate crumpet recipe. But for now, I have one darn good English muffin recipe. These beat any store bought English muffin hands down. And they're pretty easy. So, here's my recipe for

Homemade English Muffins

(Photo courtesy of Mr. ValleyWriter)

1 c. milk
3/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. warm water
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Heat milk for about 30-45 seconds in microwave until lukewarm. Pour 1/2 c. milk into a small bowl. Stir in sugar and sprinkle yeast over the top. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to allow yeast to activate.
Sift flour into a separate bowl. Add salt.
Once yeast mixture is frothy, add to flour mixture. Add remaining 1/2 c. milk and beat with whisk for 5 minutes.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place about 45 minutes or until dough has doubled.
Once dough has doubled, mix warm water and baking soda together in a small bowl until smooth. Add to dough and mix gently, incorporating air as you go.
Cover and let sit another 15-20 minutes or until dough has doubled again. (For me, it only took 15 minutes to redouble, but it may take longer.)
Grease a cast iron griddle with butter and heat over low to medium heat.
Grease crumpet rings (I used flower-shaped cookie cutters because that's all I could find) with butter and place on griddle. Allow rings to heat up for a couple of minutes.
Add 1-2 Tbsp. of dough to the middle of the rings, so they're filled about 1/2-3/4 of the way up the sides.
Cook for 7-8 minutes until some bubbles have popped on the top and dough is fully set. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes on the other side.
These are yummy fresh of the griddle (well, give them a couple of minutes to cool down!) or the next day. Just put them in a tightly closed container to store.

If you have the perfect crumpet recipe - or any thoughts about where I went wrong on the above recipe - please let me know!


Anonymous said...

I love cumpets (especially with lemon curd- yum!) but I've never attempted making them.

Tangled Noodle said...

These look so good and even better toasted with butter melting all over . . . !