…is not just another play on Benedict Cumberbatch’s name.
When many people think of England (assuming they are not English themselves), they think of tea and crumpets. So of course, being both an anglophile and a good cook, I’ve been wanting to try to make my own. Ages ago I found this crumpet recipe from the Guardian website, as part of its “How to Cook the Perfect…” blog series.
My mum, also a good cook, instilled two cooking principles in me:
1. Follow the recipe exactly the first time, then decide what you want/need to change (if anything)
2. Clean up as you go along
So, I tried the Guardian recipe exactly as written, and then combined my experience with some suggestions in the comments section to tweak it to my satisfaction.
And now, I am sharing the results with you.
I wouldn’t say these crumpets are very labor-intensive–they don’t involve exotic ingredients or advanced cooking techniques–but they do take a lot of time. I think they’re worth it, but I am someone who cooks and bakes for fun, so take that with a grain of salt.
The one complicated thing about this recipe is the crumpet rings. If you already have circular cookie cutters/baking rings, you don’t need to buy new crumpet rings. Or, if you don’t have circular baking rings but you have other cookie cutters and you want to make crumpets in the shape of Santas or stars, feel free. You can also make crumpet rings by saving cans (like those that contain pineapple rings or tuna) and removing both the tops and bottoms. I tried this initially, because I’m a cheapskate and I don’t like buying kitchen gadgets that I don’t need. However, I cut myself in the process, and so I gave up and decided to buy the real thing. They have served me well so far.
If you’ve looked at the recipe I linked, you may have noticed that it uses UK measurements: grams and milliliters instead of cups. Since I currently lack a kitchen scale, I had to find an online source for converting measurements. This one yielded great success. My liquid measuring cups already included milliliter measurements, so that bit wasn’t a problem.
When all is said and done, here is my Americanized version of the Guardian crumpet recipe.
First, the ingredients:
1 tsp sugar
200 ml whole milk
100 ml water
1 Tbsp dried yeast
1 cup bread (“strong”) flour
2/3 cup all-purpose (“plain”) flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 50 ml warm water
Yield: 8 crumpets
And now, the steps:
1. Combine the sugar, milk, and water and heat it (either on the stovetop or in the microwave) until warm but not too hot. You should be able to hold the container or dip your finger in without pain.
2. Stir in the yeast and leave alone in a warm place until frothy.
3. Combine the flours and the salt in a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the liquid to the flour mixture and beat until smooth. (You can use an electric mixture, but I whisk by hand.)
5. Cover the batter (towel or plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place until the yeast is very bubbly. Depending on the environment, this should take 1-2 hours.
Tip: Place the bowl o’ batter in the oven, where it will be free of drafts. You can preheat the oven to about 150 degrees, then turn it off a few minutes before placing the mixing bowl of batter inside. Obviously it shouldn’t be hot enough to cook the batter, but if you’re making this in a cold apartment in the middle of December (as I am), the warmed oven should be a great help to the yeast. It will also speed up the process.
6. Combine the baking soda with 50 ml of warm water and stir it into the bubbly batter. Make sure everything is evenly combined.
7. Once again, cover and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes. The batter should become very bubbly again.
8. Place the crumpet rings (as many as will fit) in one or more frying pans. Cover the rings and pan(s) with nonstick spray. (The original recipe calls for coating with melted butter, but that’s a bit messy for me.)
9. Heat the frying pan on medium-low heat. Ladle enough of the batter into each ring to fill them about halfway.
Tip: DO NOT leave the ladle, spoon, spatula, or whatever you use in the bowl with the batter. This “flattens” it and kills off some of the bubbles.
10. Cook the batter in the rings (no flipping!) until the tops are no longer sticky and are full of holes.
11. Move the crumpets to a cooling rack. If you are eating them straightaway, you can toast them, either under a broiler or in a toaster/toaster oven until the tops are golden. If not, then let them cool completely, then store them in an airtight container, and toast them later.
12. Top with butter, jam, marmalade, Nutella, Marmite, honey, maple syrup, or whatever you enjoy on your toast. With a cup of tea, of course.
The crumpets should last you 4-5 days, kept in the fridge.
I’m just kidding. You’ll eat them all within 48 hours.
Enjoy with a Benedict
Crumpetbatch Cumberbatch video: