All the Dedes gathered in the kitchen to try the sweeter stuff that was currently on offer. King tried a bit of this and a bit of that but nothing seemed to satisfy his tastebuds. “You know” he said, “when I was a little prince, we had crumpets as a special treat for breakfast.”
“Crumpets? What’s that?” asked Deutsch Fraulein.
“I don’t know what they’re made of” said King. “It must be more than flour and water. I remember them as the most delicious Sunday breakfast” He paused for a while and everyone could see that in his mind’s eye he was being served a tower of delicious crumpets by his butler. “They are very similar to American pancakes but definitely not the same. They are really spongy with a honeycomb surface that soaks up any topping” he concluded.
“What do you have them with?”
“Butter or cream cheese and jam.”
Liar, who is a bit of a snob and pretends to be from a posh family, stepped forward and said, “I know how to make crumpets. And they do fit the profile.” He told the others that crumpets are a rather strange combination of a yeast dough and a baking soda batter. Like pancakes, they are baked on the stove top but they don’t contain eggs.
“Now that sounds interesting” said Mouse. “I definitely want to have that recipe!”
“As with any yeast dough they do take a little while to make, so they are good for a Sunday brunch rather than for everyday breakfast,” Liar explained as he handed over his recipe. “But you can make lots and put them in the fridge, and reheat them in the toaster over the next few days.
1½ cups flour, ½ cup hot water and ½ cup milk, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons dry yeast. ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ cup of warm water. Butter for the pan.
Place the flour in a bowl. Make a well in the middle. Mix hot water and milk to create a lukewarm liquid (if necessary heat it up a little) and pour into the well. Add sugar and yeast. Leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes until it is sloshy.
Mix yeast with flour until it becomes a soft dough. It’s best done with your hands, though it is really sticky. The texture is more like a very thick pancake mix than a bread dough. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and put in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Dissolve the baking soda in warm water and stir into the yeast dough. It doesn’t combine easily, you need to be persistent. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
The batter is soft and won’t keep it’s shape well when placed in the frying pan. If you have some egg rings for poached eggs, they are ideal for containing the batter and make the crumpets nice and round. If you don’t have egg rings, you can cut a clean tomato tin up into rings (make sure there are no sharp egdges that can cut you). Grease the rings and place them in a frying pan. If you aren’t fussed about getting the perfect circular shape you don’t need to use rings :)
Fill each ring with some batter. The batter will rise while cooking and the crumpet dries from the bottom up. Bubbles come to the surface and pop, which gives the crumpets their distinct honeycomb surface. At this stage remove the ring, flip the crumpet over to cook the other side for a minute or so.
You can eat them immediately, or cool on a wire rack and reheat in the toaster later. If you eat them straight from the pan you don’t even need a topping.
“Only a King, with servants, could crave for crumpets.” Deutsch Fraulein said, after she had read the recipe. “No-one else would go to all that trouble.” After she had sampled them, she changed her mind.