Monday, 25 January 2010

Crumpets v Pikelets take two

The last lot of Crumpets using the Hairy Biker recipe where good, they just weren't good enough. The purpose of crumpets (and pikelets) is to form a toasty matrix for holding molten butter. It turns out that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a recipe (well more a sermon on tea-time treats). I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Thats the batter there, after the yeast has done it's work. The batter is a lot thinner this time round, more the texture of thin cream than the doughier batter of the Hairy recipe. Time to heat the skillet and find out what goes on. Hugh Suggests a test crumpet, which by tradition wil be sacrificed to Chef's privilege so I'm all in favour.

I was a touch sloppy getting all the batter into the crumpet ring, but the 2 important points are on display, 1 bubbles, and bubbles make holes, which is why we are making crumpets in the first place. 2 the batter is staying in the ring, its not oozing out of the bottom, so we've got the correct proportions. What follows is about an hour with the skillet & crumpet rings, but Hugh insists that pikelets are just flat crumpets (a position I've opposed for a long time, but since I've failed to find any evidence to back up my stance, I'm reluctantly agreeing with Hugh & others). This does though mean that I can get a nice system running where I alternate between crumpets & pikelets & get to clean the crumpet rings without wasting gas.

Well here they are pikelets, the store bought ones of my youth were actually a bit more circular & a little less rustic than these. Even so there is a good deal of promise being shown. At this point, if you've never enjoyed crumpets or pikelets you are probably asking yourself "Why is he so worked up about this ?". Well, pikelets have a different mouth feel to crumpets (in my opinion a superior one) that these experiments lead me to believe is due to their thickness. In both its possible for a hole to extend through the entire depth, of course with crumpets being several centimetres high, its unlikely, pikelets however are more in the order of millimetres thick, so it becomes highly likely, and when done right the majority of holes reaches the thin batter base. This provides for a much stickier eating experience, with pikelets trapping more molten butter. Here as inspiration is the bounteous harvest of teatime goodness

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