What is about the crumpet that's so blooming appealing? Aside from the comedy name, there's just something about those squidgy little carby things that screams "winter Sunday". Seriously, is there a more appealing foodie mental image than butter melting over a freshly toasted crumpet? Go on. Think about that for a second. You know you want to...
Nice huh? It might be the nostalgia thing but I think the appeal goes deeper than that. The crunchy outside, the spongy inner mass, the way the butter (and cheese / syrup / honey / marmalade / peanut butter etc.,) oozes through its porous flesh... Christ, I'd better stop this before I find myself attracting traffic from some rather more, ahem, adult sites.
One question that had never crossed my mind though was: what the hell IS a crumpet anyway? I'd eat them 'til the cows come home (ooh, crumpet eating competition, who's in?) but had never once stopped to think how you made them. That was until a recent Guardian Weekend supplement when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall got all teatimey on our collective arses.
And so, armed with whisk and pan, and with the absolute encouragement of yours truly, resident baker Mrs L whisked up a batch of the batter. The answer to the "what the hell IS a crumpet anyway?" question, incidentally, is basically sort of a pancake, only with a water and milk mix, a complete lack of eggs and the addition of yeast and bicarbonate of soda which, presumably, is what causes the necessary bubbling to give the crumpet its lovely texture and butter-absorbing holes.
After a couple of practice crumpets got slightly overdone (but still eaten, obviously), the perfect pan temperature was found and the results were one of those simple pleasures that: a) had me giggling as butter dripped down my front; and b) didn't make it out of the kitchen before being consumed. The pattern was basically cook, butter, scoff, repeat. It was, frankly, a bloody good day.