Today being Mothers Day, I cooked my mum the traditional breakfast in bed. While at the supermarket the other day I saw crumpets on special, but me being me decided that I didn’t need to buy them – I could make them from scratch myself! I enjoy a cooking challenge, and anyway, how hard could it be?
Pretty hard apparently. I’ve been through 2 lots of batter and got about 8 edible crumpets all together. Maybe it is the recipe? maybe the cook (a yeast novice)? old bicarb? the frying pan perhaps? But I just can’t seem to get them consistently bubbly and golden brown like the ones in the packet at the supermarket, which would have cost me $4 for more than the 8 crumpets I managed to conquer. Granted, they wouldn’t have been heart shaped, but nonetheless they wouldn’t have been as stressful.
I found a recipe in the September 2005 issue of Australian Good Taste magazine (Also available online at Taste), but after the first batter produced rather flat, bubble-less pancake-y crumpets, I tweeked the recipe a little. I added more bicarb to give the bubbles more oomph and also increased the heat as this seemed to create more bubbles. After the batter went prematurely bubble-less before I had a chance to use it all, I have decreased the resting time in the final recipe as it seems the longer the batter sits, the flatter it gets. I also suggest making them ahead of time, as they are better if they are left to dry out a little before you toast them. With these little tips, I am confident that you will be able to make crumpets with considerably less stress than I went through.
Crumpets with Honey Ricotta (Makes 12)
Before you start, make sure that you have enough time to complete the recipe through all of the resting/proving steps and cooking (around 2hrs all up – only around 30 minutes of hands on work, the rest is just leaving it alone to do its thing), as leaving the batter for too long at any step will affect the amount of bubbles in the finished crumpets.
When you are ready, combine 1 sachet (7g) dried yeast & 1tsp caster sugar in a small bowl and pour in 1/2C warm skim milk & 1/2C warm water and stir until yeast dissolves. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught free place for 10 minutes or until frothy. Combine 1 1/2C plain flour & 1/2tsp salt, make a well in the centre and add yeast mixture, stirring until combined. Cover with plastic wrap again and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Combine 1/2C warm water & 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda. Use a whisk to beat crumpet mixture until it deflates, gradually add water mixture, beating well between additions, until combined and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a for 20 minutes to rest.
Brush a large frying pan and egg rings with oil to grease. The original recipe calls for 7.5cm diameter egg rings, I used some of these, but found them to be a little bit small. I also used some heart and flower shaped egg rings (not that they are really rings, what would they be called?) which were a little bit bigger and turned out just as well. Make sure they are greased well or you will squish and ruin the crumpets trying to get them out.
Place egg rings in frying pan over medium-high heat and fill with batter 3/4 full. Don’t be tempted to fill them any higher to make them bigger because as the bubbles rise the batter will end up seeping over the sides of the rings if you do – 3/4 full is full enough. Cook on medium-high for 5-6 minutes, until there are lots of bubbles in the batter and the base is getting brown, and then reduce the heat to medium for a further 3-4 minutes or until the tops are set. Reheat the pan to medium-high and re-grease the egg rings before cooking another batch. Repeat until all mixture is used.
The next day (or up to 3 days later) toast crumpets until golden, spread with butter and top with a dollop of combined 150g smooth reduced-fat ricotta & 2Tbsp honey, drizzle with a little more honey to serve.
I love crumpets, the way the butter melts deep into the holes and simply spread with honey that penetrates deep and flavours the whole thing – beautiful! The crumpets that worked tasted just like the ones from the store, they just take a bit of practice to be able to make them properly.