And then sometimes things fail. In all fairness, I knew that these weren't going to come out like true crumpets, but went with it anyway, and came out with a very interesting snack food that worked relatively well. I set out with the plan of making actual crumpets, using the recipe from Tim Hayward's Food DIY. It is absolutely ages since I have had a crumpet, and as I developed a taste for them when living in Scotland (especially hot, with butter and honey dripping through them), I was excited when I stumbled on his recipe.
I started mixing up the ingredients and then discovered that the yeast really should have been used before we went away for Easter, rather than on our return. It was looking rather like some alien slime from a sci-fi movie might, as the unknown creature lurks around the corner leaving only hints of its passage. It did not look like something which should be going in my food.
Having already mixed some of the ingredients, I riffed from there to see what would come out. To compensate for the yeast, I added a little whey and some baking soda in addition to the baking powder. The flavour was slightly impacted by the extra bicarb, so in future I will skip that. Not unexpectedly, the batter didn't rise as I would have had I included yeast, and it didn't cook the same either.
Having tried the standard method of cooking crumpets, in a skillet using a metal ring, and burnt my fingers without getting satisfactory crumpety things, I decided to experiment from there with the cooking method. I tried cooking them like regular pancakes, but they came out flat and uninteresting. I baked a couple in muffin cups, which came out sticky and doughy and a little odd. And then I cooked some like Yorkshire puddings, heating oil in the oven before adding the batter and then baking them. They didn't cook nearly the same way as Yorkshire puds, but they did come out very well and were agreed to be the tastiest method of eating my Franken-crumpets. They had a crispy, golden exterior and a soft light inside. Here is the "recipe" for these Franken-crumpets, an interesting new bready thing good with jam.
2 3/4 c flour
a pinch of salt
1 2/3 c warm milk
1 1/4 c warm water
1/2 c whey
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Olive oil for the ramequins
1) Mix together the dry ingredients. Create a well in the middle and add the milk, gradually mixing it into the flour mixture. Gradually add the water and whey.
2) Pour about 1 tsp of oil into several ramequin tins and place them on a baking try in the oven at 220°C until the oil shimmers.
3) Drop 2 tablespoons of batter into each ramequin and return to the oven, baking about 15minutes, until the tops are golden and crispy. Spread with jam and enjoy!
Despite this coming out rather differently to what I had hoped, I may well return to these. I can see them working well as a side to a savoury meal too. I have however also picked up more yeast and do intend on another assault on the mysterious world of crumpets.
Book Pairing: While making these, I was listening to Dostoyevsky's The Idiot. I enjoyed it, but I find him very dark and somewhat depressing. I hadn't read any Dostoyevsky since reading Crime and Punishment as part of my University Russian lit course, and had steered clear since because I found him so then. He writes well (while being no Tolstoy!) but I was a little disappointed with the turn of the plot, and am a little confused at the psychology of some of the characters.
EDIT: I have since remade crumpets, this time using yeast that was fresh and looked as it should. No horror film props in my kitchen this time and they worked beautifully! They looked and tasted like crumpets and were perfect with butter, double crème de Gruyère, honey or jam! I still am having the same issue with using cookie cutters instead of rings (they are ordered but not here yet!) so I did trial using folded foil instead of rings, but had mixed results, and finally got tired of doing little ones and made on giant one. I worked just as well, so we had slices of it instead of individual rounds. I am delighted to have found a recipe for these that works though!