These porous treats are a hole lot of fun – your special someone will love them! There’s nothing quite like a hot, homemade crumpet drizzled with butter and perhaps a little honey to make you feel all warm and cosy. Nana would have been very adept at making them, especially if she came from Britain, where these wonderful yeasty, doughy mounds were invented. The holes in the top are created by adding baking soda to a yeast mix. It’s these very holes that allow crumpets to soak up absolutely anything you choose to spread on them. You can buy crumpet rings in kitchen specialty shops – I even found non-stick ones – or keep an eye out in op shops, where I’ve often seen them going very cheap. Alternatively, if you eat a lot of pineapple or beetroot, which comes in those small 5cm-high cans, you can wash the cans out and remove the bottom with a can-opener to create your own perfect crumpet rings. When I made these, my family came from far and wide to my kitchen, keen to taste a crumpet or two. And when they ran out I was immediately asked to make another batch. These would be a fantastic treat to make for a rainy Sunday afternoon or a special brunch with friends.
- For the yeast mixture, gently warm the water and milk until it reaches room temperature. Don’t make it too hot, or you will kill your yeast. Test it as you would milk in a baby’s bottle – it should just feel warm to the touch.
- Stir in the sugar until it dissolves and then sprinkle the yeast over the top, gently mixing it in. Leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes until it starts to bubble and has a very yeasty smell.
- In a bowl, combine the flour and salt and give it a good stir with a whisk to fluff it up. When the yeast is ready, make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture, mixing until you have a dough. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and put in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
- Combine the baking soda and warm water. Stir this into the dough gently. You will find that the dough really doesn’t want to accept the baking soda mixture, but keep at it until it forms a thick batter. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
- Get a large frying pan or a griddle and grease it with oil or butter. Also, grease your crumpet rings. Use a medium-to-low heat and place the rings on the pan.
- Pour enough batter into each so that it comes up just 1cm on the rings. Don’t fill the rings or you will get huge crumpets!
- Cook the crumpets gently until bubbles form and pop on the surface, then remove the ring and flip the crumpet over to cook the bubbled side for a minute or so, until it’s golden.
- Remove the crumpets from the pan and place on a wire rack. Serve them straightaway while they’re still hot, with lashings of butter. You could also add honey, jam, golden syrup or, for a savoury snack, Marmite.