11 January 2010

Hole Food


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.

8 comments:

Greedy Diva said...

Inspirational - nothing better than a good bit of crumpet on a cold day! Although, my boyfriend thinks I'm disgusting as I like them with Vegemite.

Greedy Diva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

I nearly made them on the weekend too but as it was just me decided not to. You have shown me the error in that decision making - they look delicious!

Nora said...

Wow, they look spectacular. I think I need to make crumpets immediately!

Anna said...

I'd never considered making a crumpet before. It was just one of those things I assumed you needed a special hole-making machine for (I know, not my brightest moment) but now I think I'll attempt it

The London Foodie said...

Hi Neil - did you manage to get those littles holes going through them, I mean that kind of texture? They look really good. I tried a recipe where you dip the crumpets in beaten egg and grated cheese and fry them on frying pan. It was a very delicious breakfast.

Helen said...

I had such problems making the crumps! See http://helengraves.co.uk/2009/06/crumpet-fail/ and http://helengraves.co.uk/2009/07/crumpet-fail-no2-argh/

I've decided to make them again this weekend after discovering the problem FINALLY which was simply that my bicarb was too old! What an idiot.

katkat'skitchen said...

Once you have tasted a home made crumpet andexperincned the light melt in the mouth sensations
you can never go back to the rubbery hard tasteless confection thast passes for shop bought crumpets.

A beautiful recipe thanks so much for sharing, I ate them heated on a bonfire with friends because a crumpet is rather more than a taste it is an experience with friends.