Saturday, 20 August 2011

Pete Bakes: Crumpets


You could be forgiven for believing that all I do is drink, but I’ve been known to venture into the kitchen as well. Especially if it involves yeast, and producing something that can be toasted and buttered. Ok, so technically crumpets aren’t baked but it’s close enough and ‘Pete Griddles’ doesn’t sound so good.

A comment from The Boy Who Bakes on twitter a few weeks ago made me realise that I hadn’t cooked crumpets in a long time and unusually, rather than just saying “ooh I should make those myself” and then remaining glued to my keyboard, I ventured downstairs and dusted off my cookbook and discovered that I even had all the ingredients in the cupboard.

The cookbook in question is one of those ‘must have’ books; it’s a tiny little thing with less than 50 pages to it, and I only bought it originally because it had a recipe for Aberdeen Butteries – however it’s filled with all sorts of other yummy bready delights too, including crumpets. See, even the book thinks they’re baked.


Aberdeen Butteries, by the way, are a sort of Scottish take on croissants with added lard, which virtually deep-fry themselves in the oven. They’re probably not terribly good for you, but they taste divine and they’re almost worth all the fiddling about that making them requires.

Crumpets, on the other hand, are incredibly quick and easy to make – especially if, like me, you tend to go through recipes and remove anything that looks a bit complicated. It talks about heating milk and dissolving the sugar in it and it calls for fresh yeast but in keeping with my “reduce all recipes to standard Waitrose pack sizes” policy, I improved it. And I also shrank it, from experience.

The Recipe

  • 4 ounces plain flour
  • 4 ounces strong white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pint milk and water (50/50 mix, ish) – warmed slightly in the microwave, to body temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • one packet of dried yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in a little warm water

Throw everything but the bicarbonate of soda into a mixer and whisk for 5 minutes or so until it’s a smooth and slightly elastic batter.


Put some clingfilm over the top of the bowl and leave it wherever you leave your bread to rise for an hour or two until it’s frothy and “about to collapse”. I have to say I’ve always found that sort of instruction in recipes about as useful as “bake until almost done”. How do you know when something is about to collapse? I certainly don’t; I leave it until it looks properly frothy and I can’t be bothered to wait any longer.


Now add the dissolved bicarbonate of soda and stir it well in. This will knock all the air out as well and leave you with a slightly bubbly batter that’s the perfect consistency for pouring. Put aside to rise while you rummage around in kitchen drawers looking for those really useful cooking rings you know you bought and must be in there somewhere.

Get a good, heavy non-stick frying pan and start it heating over a medium heat. I don’t bother with any oil in the pan itself; the base of the crumpets don’t seem to ever stick. They will, however, glue themselves to your rings given half a chance – I have a shallow dish of oil and run the rings through the oil to get them well coated all the way around the inside on every batch. You’ll thank me later.

Oil the rings, place them in the frying pan, making sure they’re lying flat and aren’t on a slope running up the side of the frying pan (otherwise the batter will escape under the ring and you’ll be making very long winded pancakes). I find it easiest to use a ladle to pour about a centimetre of batter into each ring.


Now wait. Don’t be tempted to poke or jiggle anything. In around 5 minutes (it feels more like twenty, but it honestly isn’t) you’ll see the top of the crumpets start to dry out and start looking, well, like crumpets around the edge.


The ‘crumpetness’ will creep slowly in from the edges; once at least the edge is dry, you can safely remove the rings. I lift them off with our awesome oven gloves; they can sometimes stick – especially at the bottom – so a knife can help release them. I’ve found a flexible butter knife works best without the risk of slicing a lump out of your crumpet.

Once the top is dry, or at least almost dry, flip the crumpet over to brown the top for a minute or so. Take it out of the pan and let it cool on a cooling rack; if you put it straight onto a plate the bottom will get soggy.


If you can bear to wait, let it cool before toasting it (to make the top lovely and crunchy) and drown in butter. Or cheese, or marmite, or honey, or whatever else you like covering your crumpet with. I’m rather fond of cheese myself, a good strong cheddar melting deep into the holes…

So, are they worth the effort over shop bought crumpets? Hell yes! They are so much lighter, fluffier and although the cooking bit does involve standing around in the kitchen for a while working through the batter three at a time (which is only a limit imposed by the size of my frying pan, to be fair) it’s not exactly tricky cooking – it’s mostly stood looking at the crumpets and reading a book. They also keep fairly well; interestingly enough after 4 or 5 days they start to taste much closer to shop bought crumpets which would seem to suggest that the crumpets I’ve always loved have always been stale.


But don’t take my word for it – try them yourselves! To make it easy (and, to be honest, to address the fact that somehow I’ve ended up with two copies) we’re giving you the chance to win your very own copy of ‘Favourite Home Baking Recipes’.

How to enter

  1. What's your favourite crumpet topping? Leave a comment on this post with your answer and you could be cooking your own crumpets (not to mention Aberdeen Butteries) in no time. Please ensure you leave your email address* in the field provided or in the body of your comment. Entries without any means of contacting the winner will not be included in the draw.
  2. Enter (once per user ID only) on twitter by tweeting the following:
    I love Pete's crumpets! Please can I win a copy of Favourite Home Baking Recipes from #PetesCrumpets


  • The prize is a second hand copy of the Favourite Home Baking Recipes booklet.
  • The prize cannot redeemed for cash.
  • The prize can be delivered to UK addresses only.
  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Wednesday 31st August 2011.
  • A winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.

*If you don't have a secondary email address already and are nervous about sharing your main email address on the internet, why not set up a new free email account on hotmail, gmail or yahoo, that you can use to enter competitions like this?


Miss Whiplash said...

Y'know what? I read this post and said “ooh I should make those myself” ;-)
Haven't made crumpets for years...
No time today - but I shall definitely look into it. Just have to identify some victims first....

Gill the Painter said...

they look absolutely fantastic, Kavey.

I'm going to pop into the kitchen and make some myself.

No rings though, so they won't be nearly as fine as yours.

Riocaz said...

Wow... Well done Pete they look great...

And im not the only one that likes cheese melted on crumpets!!!

Josordoni said...

oh aren't they fab!! I even have crumpet rings (somewhere.....) and I love the look of that little book (even if I am not 100% sure about Aberdeen Butteries.)

I like my crumpets toasted really crunchy (no flabby crumpets here pls..) and then just topped with salty butter. Nothing else will do just really salty butter..mmmm

Gill the Painter said...

I've just had them with grated cheese too.
The shape's a bit off, but Pete's crumpets - given the sourdough treatment and left to rise for 8hrs - are great.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I love baking, I love crumpets, but somehow I've never got round to making them. There's a recipe I've been eyeing up in my River Cottage Bread Handbook but I've not been brave enough to give it a go. From the looks of this post, they're really not too tricky so I'm going to give it a go!

My favourite crumpet topping is butter - the trick is to keep buttering them til it seeps out the other end, and then add another wedge for extra bite! :-)

Lisa said...

This has inspired me to go and buy some crumpet rings. And a frying pan that actuially does have a flat surface...oh no! Wait! I have a cast iron griddle! Huzzah. :)

Mamta said...

Lovely Pete, they look good enough to eat ;-)! I am coming to tea one day soon :-).

tori said...

Gorgeous. Favourite crumpet topping; mashed banana, sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzling of maple syrup.

Kay said...

Is it bad to admit I've never tried crumpets? Needs to be rectified as soon as possible! They look & sound great.

BunnyBanter said...

All I need to find are some crumpets rings now...

My fave topping is definitely lots of butter, marmite and raspberry jam (yes all together, don't knock it til you've tried it), though I did make a tasty lunch of crumpets w cheddar and chorizo grilled on top. Yum!

Karolina said...

My favourite crumpets topping is bacon and marple syrup - together! :) I never though I would make crumpets at home - very nice, have to try it! :)



Anonymous said...

I love your recipe and I can't wait to try it. As for the crumpet topping, I love lemon curd as I ussualy prefer its sour taste.

Keep up the good work!

Pete Favelle said...

BunnyBanter - nothing wrong with that topping; I've always loved Marmite and jam sandwiches...

Of course, now I'm going to have to make another batch just to try all these new toppings out :)

girls who like to gorge said...

WOW, they look great! having made them, would you say they are better than shop bought? x

Pete Favelle said...

Definitely, much much nicer than shop bought and well worth the (relatively small) effort involved!

BeccaRothwell said...

I love crumpets but I never think to make them myself, mostly through being too damn lazy. Perhaps I will buy some rings and give it a go.

Favourite crumpet topping - I almost said marmite and melted mature cheddar cheese, as that is probably my favourite savoury topping. However. A few months ago I discovered the unbridled joy of peanut butter and nutela topped crumpets. So. Good.

Email: Becca (at ) howtomakeamess (dot) com.

Rosana said...

Yummy! I will have a go soon. My favourite toppings: savoury: melted cheese and mortadella (finely sliced). Sweet: spreadable dulce de leche or brigadeiro. Have a nice day. x

stampedconcrete said...

looks so delicious .. yummy .. i like it when it has a cheese .. sometimes chocolate toppings .. hmmh yummy !

Mickle in NZ said...

Super thanks for the crumpet/muffin/egg/anything else ring greasing advice. Everything else I've tried has been a complete failure even though my rings are supposedly "non stick". I have hope at last with using them!!!

Michelle downunder in Wellington, NZ

Kavey said...

Thanks for all your entries, the winner is Bunny Banter!