December is here! It’s short hours of day light allow us more time to warm the oven and fill the kitchen with festive vapours. There’s little to preserve at this time of the year, and so the mind turns to the mixing bowl, baking and all those pleasing traditional treats we count the days for before we can enjoy. Much as I love the time-honoured mince pies, fruity cakes and Stollen, at tea-time sometimes all I want is something plain and homely- hot buttered crumpets are just the job.
With a bare handful of store cupboard ingredients, light, bubbly crumpets are fun and easy to make. Rule of thumb is to ensure the frying pan is hot, but not smoking, and to heat the crumpet rings (non-stick egg poaching rings are ideal) in the pan before the batter is poured in. Aside from these points, you just need to think ahead a couple of hours, but no more so than if you were baking a cake for tea. They can also be frozen.
To make 12 x 6-7cm Crumpets
- 200ml milk – skimmed, semi or whole
- 250g plain flour
- Generous 1/2 teaspoon quick (dried) yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon sea-salt
- Generous 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- A little lard or oil
- Mix the milk with 200ml of freshly boiled water.
- Place the flour and the yeast in a medium sized mixing bowl or mixing jug.
- Make a well in centre, gradually add the warm milk to the flour, beating until it is a thick, smooth batter. Cover with cling film or tea towel and leave in a warm place until it has a foamy, sponge like texture – approximately 1-2 hours.
- Heat a heavy based frying pan until it is hot, but not smoking.
- Smear the frying pan and the crumpet rings with a little lard or oil.
- Place the rings, blunt edge down on the hot surface and leave for a minute or so to get hot.
- Pour roughly 1cm batter into each ring. Cook for approximately 5 minutes until the surface is covered with air bubbles and the batter has set. Remove the ring. Flip the crumpet over and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Continue cooking the crumpets until all the batter is used up.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- To serve: toast on each side and spread with butter.
Re ‘Cycled’ Wrapping – I was just about to chuck out an ‘out of date’ road atlas with big A3 pages when it struck me what great wrapping paper it would make. Now my Christmas gifts are wrapped up in the curvy contours of the favourite places of the recipients – great for cyclists to recycle!
Christmas Joke – What do hedgehogs eat at Christmas time? Prickled Onions!