Try this foolproof recipe for perfectly crisp, toasted crumpets with a chewy centre. They are so tasty and take remarkably little effort.
225g strong white bread flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
½ tsp caster sugar
Melted butter for greasing
For the whipped honey butter
75g unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp set honey (we used orange blossom honey)
Orange zest, to serve
You’ll also need:
9cm non-stick metal crumpet or egg-poaching rings
Heat the milk together with 55ml water in a small saucepan until just warm enough to put your finger in and hold it there for a few seconds.
Meanwhile, put the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. When the liquid is ready, pour it into the bowl, stirring with a metal spoon, to make a smooth batter. Don’t overbeat – stop as soon as it’s smooth. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes (see tips). The batter will rise, forming bubbles, and become sticky. Heat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2.
Brush the insides of the rings with a little melted butter. Put a flat griddle pan or large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and brush with melted butter. Arrange as many rings as will fit and, when the butter is sizzling, spoon 3 tbsp of the batter into each ring.
Turn down the heat to low (see tips) and cook for 10-15 minutes until the crumpet tops are almost cooked, with just a hint of undercooked mixture – you’ll see bubbles form in the mixture, which will then burst.
Remove the crumpet rings using a tea towel to protect your fingers, then flip the crumpets with a palette knife and cook for 2 minutes more. Set aside on a baking sheet. Re-grease the crumpet rings and repeat with remaining mixture.
When all the crumpets are ready, put them in the oven for 5-8 minutes to make sure the insides are cooked.
For the whipped honey butter: Put the butter in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer or wooden spoon until soft and pliable. Stir through the honey, and beat until almost completely combined – don’t beat for too long or the butter will split. Cover with cling film and store somewhere cool until needed.
Eat straightaway, or cool, then toast to warm through. Serve with whipped honey butter and a little grating of orange zest to finish.
Leave the crumpet batter somewhere warm in step 2, away from drafts, but don’t be tempted to put it anywhere too hot, such as near a radiator, or the mixture might overheat and collapse.
Be careful when moving the bowl of batter – if you slam it down or are rough with the spoon, you risk knocking out the air. Be gentle when spooning the mixture into the rings, too.
In step 4 the heat must be low enough to ensure the bottoms of the crumpets don’t burn before the tops firm up. If they’re on the lowest heat and they’re still burning, move the pan to a smaller burner.
Don’t be tempted to rush the crumpets as they’re cooking. Many recipes specify much shorter cooking times, but you’re looking to properly dry out the insides and create a solid, crisp exterior, so take it slow.