The most important thing when making crumpets is getting enough holes into them. Flat crumpets have nowhere for the butter to sink into! Make sure you beat the butter sufficiently, don’t overfill the rings with butter and cook them very slowly so that the bubbles have enough time to form and then pop.
70g strong white bread flour
70g plain white flour
1 sachet (7g) fast-action dried yeast
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp caster sugar
275l milk, warm (not hot)
1⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75–100ml warm water
Melted unsalted butter, for greasing
Lots of salty butter, for spreading!
Cast-iron or good-quality heavy- based frying pan (or griddle)
At least 4 metal crumpet or egg rings or plain metal pastry cutters about 7.5cm in diameter
Heatproof pastry brush
1 Mix together the flours, yeast and salt. Add the sugar and milk and beat until you have a smooth batter. Cover and leave to rise for 45 mins.
2 Combine the bicarbonate of soda with the warm water and mix it into the batter. Cover again and rest for 20 mins.
3 Heat the pan, then butter it and sufficiently grease the insides of the rings or cutters with the pastry brush. Allow the rings to heat up in the pan, then fill each one with about 2cm batter. Don’t overfill them as the crumpets will take too long to cook and the holes won’t have time to form.
4 Wait. Be patient. Turn your crumpets over only once you can see holes starting to poke through the batter. Then lift away the rings and flip over the crumpets to continue cooking.
5 Brush the empty rings with more butter and ladle in more batter.
6 To keep the crumpets hot, lay them one by one in a large ‘envelope’ of tin foil and keep them in the oven on its lowest heat. Or butter them copiously and rush them out to your guests, piping hot.
Recipe by Kerstin Rodgers from her book MsMarmiteLover’s Secret Tea Party (Random House, £20). Turn to page 24 of April's The Simple Things for the rest of her high tea menu, including recipes for:
Rachael’s Secret Tea Room Muffins, Hobbit Seed Cake, Lemon, Almond and Pistachio Cake with Lemon Cream Frosting, Homemade Nutella, and Cupcakes baked in a cup.