Friday, October 18, 2013
Bringing Crumpets to Newcastle - Picture
Mind you, I do like some of their baked goods, but the logistics of getting Rack in his crate, finding my car keys, getting the Jeep started, and all the ancillary nonsense will make me second guess leaving the house.
That sort of thing happens when you have the knowledge. More importantly, the time, I would guess.
When David was sitting around here one morning, he casually mentioned that I was running low on Crumpets. I figured that particular recipe out a while back and shared it here, but it is a very fiddly one. Temperature, water percentage, the amount of batter poured out have to be exactly correct or you get a sinker or something that simply sticks to everything. Annoying recipe, but that's the challenge.
For the record, the griddle should be between 275F and 300F, grease the crumpet rings after each use with shortening, and pour less batter rather than more. If you over fill the rings, they stick. About 1/4 cup or 2 ounces per ring should do it even if that looks "light".
We got to talking about his childhood in England near Wales, I got to talking about mine playing in the mud in New Jersey and getting in touch with our inner brats. While telling stories I realized he had probably never had these crumpet things fresh. Fresh as in off the griddle.
With the technology that we've assembled, this is the kind of the thing that is mostly left to the experts. Here in South Florida, having a sizeable British Ex-Pat community, you can find Crumpets in the frozen food aisle at Publix - occasionally. They're also about twice the price of the run of the mill English Muffins for about 1/2 of the calorie count. It's that "fiddly" aspect.
Having been watching Downton Abbey recently, I gained a new respect for how people used to do things Back In The Day. The sort of thing that I would casually just "whip up" takes some serious planning and time to prepare. Making food back then, in the World War One era had to be much more difficult. Wood Fired stoves take a long time to get to the right temperature and once they were there, they had to be maintained very carefully or they'd get too hot or too cold.
I will stop complaining about my own electric oven that has a passing acquaintance with holding the temperature. It just seemed silly to complain when I saw Mrs Packmore on that show trying to cook on a giant black cast iron stove that took up the wall of a kitchen that was the size of my living room.
We've got it easy in comparison. Fiddly recipes can be made casually. Back In The Day memories where people would work all day in the kitchen put people off of cooking because they're afraid they'd be standing over the stove for hours.
For the record, it takes me on average 10 minutes per crumpet by the time I have the batter made, and that takes an hour itself. Yeast has its own rhythm, you can't rush the little Yeasty Beasties. It is a Long Weekend Afternoon when I make those things.
No wonder why David's not had them made fresh.