Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. ~ CK Chesterton

Howdy Yall! It's time to lick your lips and drool as we discuss yummy vittles and Texas testaments to taste!

I hope you enjoy your time with us. Please be sure to drop by and leave a message or a hello. We want to know how to better serve you!

~Blue Zebra

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Little Miss Muffet and Her Crumpets

Little Miss Muffet sat on her crumpet, eating her curds and whey… (Ok, maybe she didn’t sit on a crumpet, maybe it was a tuffet! But I don’t exactly know what a tuffet is either. We don’t have tuffets in the South…but we do have princesses and Sweet Potato Queens!)

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine over at another site, about what people in the UK call English Muffins. Someone made the comment they thought they were called crumpets and from there we completely threadjacked the original poster’s thread on English Muffins. I admitted that I’d never had a crumpet before and I don’t even think I’ve seen one. Have you?

Growin’ up we often had a big Sunday breakfast, brunch really. We would go to church and then everyone would get in the kitchen and start cooking and visiting with each other. We sometimes sat at the table and visited for hours. It was a lazy and delicious way to catch up with everyone and just treat the day easily.

We had the usual Southern fare: biscuits, pancakes, waffles, toast, muffins or the like; never all at once, mind you. It was an either/or proposition. Occasionally we would have an English muffin, but they were expensive and a real treat in our house. I think I maybe only had them 4 or 5 times in my first 18 years of life. So it’s no surprise, despite having visited many different types of restaurants in many towns, that I would not be familiar with crumpets.

I vowed to make up for that blank spot in my culinary history. I decided to make them. Thanks to browndog for passing along the recipe from Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery. Elizabeth David, so I am told, writes recipe books with an insight into English history and is “chatty” in her delivery. She sounds like someone I’d love! :D

I added her book to my wish list but I will go ahead and post the recipe here.

English Crumpets
By Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery
Yield: 8-10 Crumpets

3 cup or so unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp dry yeast (1/2 oz. fresh)
2 1/2 cup milk and water mixed (a generous measure)
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp oil

Second Mixing:
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup warm water or a little more

Warm the flour in an earthenware bowl in a low oven for 5 minutes.

Warm the oil, milk, water and sugar to blood heat. Use a little of this to cream the yeast. (I proofed active dry yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and reduced the quantity of milk showing here by 1/2 cup.)

Mix the salt with the warm flour, stir in the yeast, pour in the liquid, and stir the batter very well and vigorously, until it is smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl, leave batter to rise at room temp until the whole surface is a mass of bubbles and the mixture looks as if it were about to break. This will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Forestall the natural falling of the batter by beating it down yourself with a wooden spoon.

Dissolve the baking soda in the warm water and stir it into the bowl. Cover the bowl and leave the batter to recover, for about 30 minutes. This time, put it in a rather warmer place, unless you need to delay the cooking of the crumpets, in which case use cold water for dissolving the soda and remove the bowl of batter to a cool place.

Cooking the crumpets:
Grease the griddle very lightly, also the crumpet rings.

Put 4 rings on the griddle; pour enough batter into each to come almost to the top. Let them cook very gently, 7 to 10 minutes. By this time there should be a mass of tiny holes. If the holes haven't appeared, the batter is too thick. Add more warm water or milk to the batter before cooking the next batch.

Once the crumpets have set, it should be easy to slip off the rings and turn them over. They only need 3 minutes on the other side. (Just enough time to add a little color to the 2nd side.)

Browndog comments, “Here is what Elizabeth David has to say about her crumpets: ‘Personally, I find crumpets edible only when freshly cooked, warm and soaked in plenty of butter. Toasting makes them tough and alters the whole structure. I think it preferable to reheat them in a covered dish in the oven, with butter. When all is said and done, crumpets are only yeast pancakes confined to rings and so made thick and of a uniform size.’”

Blue Zebra NOTES:
This recipe was very easy. I used 3-1/2” rings that I bought at Sur La Table for $0.95 each. I was a little skeered cuz I just didn’t know how thick to make the batter. As my spill-over pictures show, don’t fill your rings any more than 2/3 full or you will have trouble. I cooked the crumpets about 12-13 minutes over low heat, in a cast iron skillet. I then flipped them and cooked for another couple of minutes on the second side. I only removed the ring after cooking on both sides.

These are delicious. They taste quite like a very thick blini (yeasted pancake) and much, much better than your average pancake. They are totally worth making again. The next time I make them; I will begin the batter the night before and retard the batter in the fridge over night.

I made a big Sunday breakfast. It will be the only thing I will cook today. Dinner tonight will most likely be watermelon salad and leftover chicken. The breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, cheese grits, bacon, homegrown tomatoes, and homemade crumpet with butter and amaretto/peach/pecan jam, and a slice of watermelon. It’s incredible to me, but again, this entire huge meal was only about $1.10 including 2 cups of coffee. Amazing, yes?


browndog said...

Well done you, Bluezee. They look grand. Funny, when we talked about batter running under the rings, never occurred to me they might run over...no harm done, apparently!

I'm glad you were happy with them. I find it as nerve-wracking making a recipe recommendation as it is suggesting books or movies.
And northern girl that I am, I still get all goose-bumpy when someone mentions cheese grits--extreme yum! Watermelonn salad is utterly off my radar--never ever heard of it. Have heard of watermelon pickles, though I've never met one in person.

Blue Zebra said...

Hugs browndog and no worries mon! They were FANTASTIC! Great recipe and I would always trust your recommendations because you are so creative and talented!!!

I will post my cheese grit recipe here. B took piccys of it for me. They are so easy and very yummy. We eat them as a side dish for many different meats, but they are unexpected and awesome with steak, roasts and all hams and pork.

My watermelon salad is called Fire and Ice and it's a sweet hot salad. Again, I will post a piccy and the recipe probably in the next day or two! Hahahaha on never meeting one in person! :D

What is your favorite way to serve the crumpets?

Sue (coffeepot) said...

I love cheese grits and the recipe looks yummy.

I can post now Blue Z. Thanks.

Arabic Bites said...

Hello blue zebra ,
I love your blog and recipes too.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Crumpets are on my list of to-try, so thanks for the recipe! Yours look like they turned out wonderfully.

browndog said...

I like 'em with butter and jam or even a dabble of maple syrup since there's always plenty of that around. Honestly they don't get made that often here because there's always so darn much BREAD that needs to get eaten (so I can make the next batch.)
Your watermelon salad sounds very likely to succeed--we love spicy stuff, the guys eat jalapenos for fun and my kid is a wasabi fool.

Blue Zebra said...

Here's a comment from KYHeirloomer who is having difficulties with loggin' on with Google:

I give up. Google just doesn't want me to post at your blog, I reckon.

Here's what would have appeared. Use it as you will.


Nice to see a pix at top that actually has a little blue in the zebra.

Me, I opt for pomagranite and puise as my colors. But I won't tell you which is the ground and which the stripes. Ha!

At any rate, crumpets are defined as "A small, flat round of bread, baked on a griddle." Which pretty much descibes English muffins. So that was a good guess on your part.

Now for the hard part. A tuffet is either "a clump or tuft (tuffet, get it) of grass" or "A low seat, such as a stool."

So what did Miss Muffet sit upon? Either could apply. Most likely it was a garden stool. But it could have been a tuft of grass just as easily.

Second question, of course, is how large was this spider that it so frightented her she abandoned her breakfast? Must of been a monster.

Girls tend to be askeered of spiders, it's true. But enough to give up on breakfast? I dunno. I could understand it better if it was a snake, cuz even a little garden snake can be fearsome appearing. And she may have seen one, sitting out there in the garden.

Which brings to mind that old lesson in natural history:

A snake in the grass
Is an asp in the grass
But a grasp in the ass
Is a goose.

Sorry about that.

Blue Zebra said...

Hi to everyone and thanks so much for visiting the site. I hope you will come back often and share your insights and recipes and good ol' know how!

I'm trying to figure out how to start a recipe archive here so that it separates the recipes into categories but I hear that's a bit difficult at the moment on blogspot. As soon as I figure that out I promise to post the recipes for the watermelon salad and grits, ok?

And KYHeirloomer I know you are reading this even though it won't let you post, lol, you have the quickest mind in 6 counties! ;)

Hugs to all and hope you will come back and bring your friends! :D

KYHeirloomer said...

I don't know about a quick mind. But I think I've solved the posting problem.

This will be a test

Blue Zebra said...

Well sir welcome back!!! And congrat on solving the posting problem. :D