Wednesday, February 10, 2010
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Do you know the difference between a crumpet and an English muffin? You probably do, but because we're friends I hope you'll humor me. Did you know that English muffins are an American invention? They were created by the "nooks and crannies" guy, Samuel Bath Thomas, towards the end of the 19th century. His goal was to create a crumpet that could be split and then toasted on both sides. Unfortunately, history does not tell us why this feat was of such great importance to him. While many use the terms interchangeably, there is a real difference between a crumpet and an English muffin. Muffins are made from a drier batter than crumpets and are served split rather than whole. The crumpet is cooked, stovetop, in a shallow ring mold that allows its bottom to become a lovely brown while the top develops a gazillion tiny holes that are perfect vessels for holding copious quantities of butter and warm jam. In England they are usually served for tea, while here they are served for breakfast. Let me insert, at this point, a disclaimer. While I love crumpets, I make them only once or twice a year. Life in any kitchen is a matter of choices, and while I bake all our bread, I'm quite content to purchase commercially prepared crumpets as long as I know I can make them if I have to. The "can if I have to" mind set was fueled by an economics professor who insisted my generation would starve to death surrounded by animals we had never learned to hang and dress. I was very impressionable, so, in addition to making crumpets and cheese, I stand at the ready if you ever need a chicken's neck wrung. My crumpet recipe comes from James Beard. I have an equally delightful recipe for English muffins that was developed by Julia Child. We'll do English muffins in a few weeks. Today we are all about crumpets. Tea anyone?
Crumpets...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by James Beard
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup boiling water
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
8 to 10 buttered flan rings or tuna cans with tops and bottoms removed
1) Combine milk and boiling water in a large bowl. Cool until lukewarm. Add yeast and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until bubbly. Mix salt with flour. Add to yeast mixture and beat with a spoon for several minutes. Let batter rise until doubled in bulk and slightly bubbly. Beat dissolved soda into batter. Let rise again until doubled in bulk.
2) Heat a griddle or large frying pan over medium-hot heat. Position buttered rings in pan. Spoon batter into rings to a depth of about 1/2-inch. Cook until dry and bubbly on top. Remove rings, turn crumpets and brown lightly on the other side. Transfer to a rack to cool. Toast and butter to serve. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
You might also enjoy:
Brussels and Liege Waffles
Baked Swedish Pancake
This recipe is linked to:
Wild Yeast - Yeast Spotting