Wherever you may be at this moment in life, if you haven’t had a homemade crumpet yet, then you need to take stock of the flour in your pantry and reassess your weekend breakfast plans now. These are not the same as store-bought crumpets – although they too deserve a special place on the breakfast plate. Homemade crumpets are what I like to call “the better pancake” – they are slightly on the sturdier side, which prevents them from deflating and disintegrating into a mushy heap on your plate. They are fluffy and moist and covered in little holes into which you can pour maple syrup as it combines with the slowly melting pat of butter snuggled on top. They are humanity’s gift to breakfast for when you’re feeling fancy and lazy at the same time.
Makes 15 (7.5cm in diameter) crumpets
This is double the amount listed on the Warburton’s website, but if you’re going all the way to make them, you may as well make enough to last you a few breakfasts. They keep in the fridge up to 3-4 days.
You can easily make these using round cookie cutters (yes, they can all be different in size) or indeed crumpet rings, but if you don’t, but think this is something you you may make on the regular, I suggest you get yourself a four pack of non-stick egg rings with a little handle – it makes handling the crumpet so much easier (and burn-free). Make sure you get ones with an edge about 2cm high – this will determine the height of your crumpet.
400ml water, plus two Tbsp extra for the yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
vegetable oil and a pastry brush
Combine flour, water, and salt in a big bowl. Get out your electric whisk and whisk until everything is smooth and completely combined.
In a small bowl, combine the two extra tablespoons and the dried yeast until more or less dissolved. If you’re considering skipping this step and just dump everything into the big bowl, don’t – I have, and the yeast ends up forming little clumps which are a pain in the neck to try and dissolve in the batter. Add to the big bowl, together with the baking powder and sugar and give it a good whisk with your mixer again until everything is completely combined – the consistency should be close to that of a smoothie.
Cover the bowl with a moist tea towel and let it sit in a warm place for 15 minutes. The dough will rise slightly, and the surface will be covered with little bubbles.
Once you’re ready to make the crumpets, heat a frying pan big enough to hold your four cookie/crumpet/egg rings over medium heat until the rings are hot to touch. Dip your brush into the vegetable oil and oil around the inside of the rings. Scoop a ladle of batter into each ring, coming up ¾ of the sides of the rings – any higher and they will overflow. Now, you wait as the bubbly batter starts to cook, forming a fluffy interior and a crisp exterior. This is not a moment to rush things, okay? Once the crumpets have started coming away from the sides of the rings, golden on the bottom and nearly done on top, you can go ahead and flip them. They may need a little extra help with a knife if they’re sticking to the sides. Let them sit for a minute longer, than remove and set onto a plate or wire rack to cool while you repeat the same process with the rest of the batter.
You can either eat them immediately (might want to give them a quick dash in the toaster if they’ve cooled off a little too much) or let them cool down and stash them in the fridge in a zip lock bag. They can easily be reheated in the toaster for two to three minutes.
To eat, top them with whatever you would top toast or pancakes. I love them with a nice glug of maple syrup, some unsalted butter (salted butter is more expensive in Switzerland – I know, the audacity) and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt, but you do you.
If you really feel like doing you, even perhaps hosting a crumpet breakfast party, then please, scroll down – I have many pieces of sage advice to give to you.
How to “Crumpet Brunch Spread“
You can do this as casual or as glam as you want, but I’m only going to give you the glam version because life is too short to not be glam.
You want to have a mixture of sweet and savoury components, so you and / or your lovely guests can come up with their own combinations without having to feel like their sweet tooth / savoury denticle is neglected. I suggest providing a collection of creamy “primers”, which provide a base upon which you can arrange the rest of the toppings:
- soft cheeses, e.g.,
- whipped mascarpone with a scraping of vanilla seeds (for the sweet toppings)
- cream cheese or labneh (excellent for both sweet and savoury toppings)
- NOT ricotta. Ricotta is dry and bland, and while this is definitely a good thing in other contexts, it isn’t here. Begone, ricotta.
Then, you want your fruit and vegetable toppings. Consider going for the same or similar level textural softness as the crumpet for these, as they will otherwise tumble off your crumpet into a sad crumpet-less salad on your plate if they aren’t. If they are already naturally soft (e.g., mango slices or avocado), go forth and use them as they are. If they are a little firmer in texture (e.g., cherry tomatoes or pears), I suggest roasting or poaching them.
- poached pears (one pear, cored and cut into slices, poached in 150ml water, 2 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and two cloves for 10-30 minutes depending on pear until soft and translucent)
- fresh berries
- roasted cherry tomatoes (drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted in a 180°C oven for 20 minutes until blistered and soft)
- sliced avocado
- caramelised onions
Here, you might want to add a condiment or two to add a little seasoning and flavour to your medley:
- maple syrup
- flaky salt
- freshly ground pepper
- finely grated parmesan
- truffle oil
Finally, to take this from brunch to fancy brunch, you need to add some crunch (ha!):
- cinnamon streusel (50g flour, 50g sugar, 40g cold butter, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of salt – mix with your fingers into a crumbly dough, making sure to clump a few bits together. Remember, you are the master of how chunky or sandy your crumble is. Bake for 20 minutes in a 180°C oven – it will have darkened a shade or two. Remove from oven and cool)
garlic pangrattato (Combine two pressed garlic cloves and one tablespoon finely chopped parsley in a frying pan with two tablespoons of olive oil. Fry until the garlic begins to turn golden, then add 5 tablespoons of panko. Season with salt. Keep stirring until a lovely golden colour. Remove from heat and cool).