As it turns out, I was in Seattle last weekend. I’d never been before, and it’s sort of a beautiful place, if you’re into amazing markets and fresh fish and misty ocean views.
I spent the weekend eating and boating and biking, walking through parks and markets, and surrounding myself with fleece-wearing, messenger-bag-toting computer geniuses. I even stumbled upon some sort of medieval sword fighting slash jousting convention in Gas Works Park (definitely a highlight of the trip – and definitely still kicking myself for not getting a photo).
I touched a starfish at the Seattle Aquarium,
And y’know what? It barely rained a drop. All that talk about Seattle being all wet and brooding? Lies. They don’t want you to know, but Seattle is actually gorgeous and flecked with sunshine (at least, it is in September). That said, I might have to go back and double check the whole weather situation. It’d be a sacrifice, but I think it’s one I’m willing to make – for my readers, of course. The trip would totally be a weather-researching thing. I mean, it’d have nothing to do with crumpets, that’s for sure.
Recipe from The Bread Book by Linda Collister & Anthony Blake
- 2 cups (230g) bread flour
- 1 2/3 cups (230g) all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 envelope active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons), plus ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 ¼ cups (510ml) lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons (10g) salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup (140ml) lukewarm milk
- unsalted butter
- whole-milk ricotta cheese
- your favorite jam (I like blackberry)
Sift together the flours and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Mix the yeast and the sugar with ¾ cup lukewarm water and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining lukewarm water.
Combine the yeast mixture with the flours in the bowl of an electric mixer set with the paddle attachment. Mix until you get a very thick, but smooth batter. (If you don’t have an electric mixer, use a wooden spoon and beat vigorously for about two minutes). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm spot until the batter rises and then falls, about 1 hour.
Add the salt and beat the batter for about 1 minute. Then re-cover the bowl and let stand in a warm spot for 15 to 20 minutes to rest.
Dissolve the baking soda in the lukewarm milk. Then gently stir it into the batter. If the batter seems too stiff, add a bit of lukewarm water to loosen it up a bit. (You’ll know if the batter is too stiff if, when you fry up a crumpet, no holes form – crumpets are supposed to be very light and full of holes. No holes = too stiff, add water).
Heat an oiled griddle or frying pan (cast iron works best) over moderately low heat for about 3 minutes until very hot. Put a well-greased crumpet ring (who owns crumpet rings? Feel free to use a round cookie cutter) on the griddle. Spoon or pour 1/3 cup of the batter into the ring. The amount of batter will depend on the size of your crumpet ring (or cookie cutter).
As soon as the batter is poured into the ring, it should begin to form holes. If holes do not form, add a little more lukewarm water, a tablespoon at a time, to the batter in the bowl and try again. If the batter is too thin and runs out under the ring, gently work in a little more all-purpose flour and try again. Once the batter is the proper consistency, continue cooking the crumpets in batches, three or four at a time. As soon as the top surface is set and covered with holes, 7 to 8 minutes, the crumpet is ready to flip over.
To flip the crumpet, remove the ring with a towel or tongs, then turn the crumpet carefully with a spatula. The cooked side should be chestnut brown. Cook the second, holey side of the crumpet for 2 to 3 minutes, or until pale golden. The crumpet should be about ¾ inch thick. Remove the crumpet from the griddle. Grease the crumpet rings well after each use.
While the crumpets are still warm, slather each with a pat of butter, a mound of ricotta and a spoonful of jam. Eat immediately, accompanied by a cup of tea and, if you can find one, a fleece-wearing computer genius.
Makes about 18 crumpets.