This is where it’s at, dude! The legendary crumpet. It’s a bit of all right. You can toast this up for the best snack on this here Earth. So, let’s find out more!
What’s a Crumpet?
It’s a round griddle cake featuring distinct (and tiny) holes across its top.
The bread is made out of water/milk with flour and yeast. It’s a popular deal in the UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
Here in Blighty, it’s something of a national treasure. You can even add Marmite to it!
— Marmite (@marmite) November 5, 2020
You bung a few crumpets in the toaster, toast them up proper (get them properly crisp and slightly burnt), slather with margarine… and there we go! A bloody unhealthy snack.
There’s a variation of the crumpet called a pikelet, which tend to be a bit thinner. Kind of like a pancake. But not.
The History of Crumpets
The recipe hails from Wales and was part of an Anglo-Saxon diet. In the past, the things were cooked in big ovens.
These were very unsafe in the past as things could so easily catch fire. So getting a crumpet was a life or death type deal! More or less.
They were called picklets for a fair old while, with this documented in a 1769 cookbook by Elizabeth Raffald (1733-1781). Her book? The Experienced English Housekeeper.
Wales has had a big impact on the humble crumpet. The “picklet” name was taken from the Welsh bara pyglyd, which eventually simply became pyglyd.
As the dish spread across the UK, us English took it and turned that into pikelets.
So, where did “crumpet” come from? There was a 14th century written reference to a “crompid” in Old English.
Or it may have come about from the Welsh term “crempog”—another type of pancake thing.
But a researcher in Manchester noted in City News Notes and Queries, vol. V (1883):
“In Lancashire there are muffins, crampets, and pikelets. The crampet is so called because the batter is poured into a circular metal ring or “cramp” for baking, and the size is that of an ordinary tea-saucer.”
It’s a bit unclear where the name came from, then, but early crumpets were apparently much harder and more like pancakes.
These days they’re like mini-bouncy castles—soft and spongy. This is only a recent thing, due to mass production from baking companies.
Until around 30 years ago, there were many regional variations in the UK on how to make a good crumpet.
But! There’s nothing stopping you from making your own batch and adding a bit of individuality to proceedings. Eh?
How Do You Make Crumpets?
For this, we’re again flagging up the truly awesome Jack Monroe. This recipe is from her book Veganish.
You can also find it on her blog: Crumpets, 6p. Bargain, eh?
As Monroe points out, you’ll need an egg poaching ring to make these things. You can get these for about £1 each (about $1.50).
The full list of ingredients is listed out on her blog, so we’re not copying it here. You’ll just have to follow the link above.
Go on. Why are you still here? Click on the bloody link, dammit! Crumpets are waiting.