|Place of origin||England|
|Main ingredients||Flour, yeast|
|Cookbook: Crumpet Media: Crumpet|
Crumpets are an Anglo-Saxon invention. An early reference to them comes from English Bible translator John Wycliffe in 1382 when he mentions the "crompid cake". The early crumpets were hard pancakes cooked on a griddle, rather than the soft and spongy crumpets of the Victorian era, which were made with yeast. The term itself may refer to a crumpled or curled-up cake, or have Celtic origins relating to the Breton krampouezh/Cornish krampoeth meaning a "thin, flat cake" and the Welsh crempog or crempot, a type of pancake.
English crumpets are generally circular, roughly 8 cm (3") in diameter and 2 cm (0.8") thick. Their shape comes from being restrained in the pan/griddle by a shallow ring. They have a characteristic flat top with many small pores and a chewy and spongy texture. They may be cooked until ready to eat warm from the pan but are frequently left slightly undercooked so that they may be cooled and stored before being eaten freshly toasted. They are often eaten with a spread of butter or an alternative, such as jam, honey, chocolate spread, margarine or yeast extract.
A regional variation of the crumpet is the pikelet, whose name derives from the Welsh bara piglydd or "pitchy [i.e. dark or sticky] bread", later shortened simply to piglydd; the early 17th century lexicographer, Randle Cotgrave, spoke of "our Welsh barrapycleds". The word spread initially to the West Midlands, where it became anglicised as "pikelet", and subsequently to Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and other areas of the north.
The main distinguishing feature of the Welsh or West Midlands pikelet is that it contains no yeast as a raising agent, and was traditionally cooked without a ring, making it rather flatter or thinner than a crumpet.
The term "pikelet" is also used in Australian and New Zealand cuisine for a similarly flat cake, of the type that, in Scotland and North America, would be called a pancake and, in England, a Scotch pancake, girdle or griddle cake, or drop scone.
A Scottish crumpet is essentially a pancake cooked in a slightly different way, made from the same ingredients as a Scotch pancake, and is about 180 millimetres (7 in) diameter and 8 millimetres (0.3 in) thick. They are available plain, or as a fruit crumpet with raisins baked in, usually fried in a pan and served with a fried breakfast - they are also sometimes served with butter and jam. The ingredients include a leavening agent, usually baking powder, and different proportions of eggs, flour, and milk which create a thin batter. Unlike a pancake, they are cooked to brown on one side only, resulting in a smooth darker side where it has been heated by the griddle, then lightly cooked on the other side which has holes where bubbles have risen to the surface during cooking. It bears little resemblance to the English crumpet.
This is the normal kind of crumpet in Scottish bakers' shops, tea rooms, and cafés, though the English type of crumpet is always obtainable in supermarkets in addition to the Scottish kind.
The South African version of the crumpet, a popular dessert and breakfast treat, is almost identical to the Scottish recipe.
- Ann Hagen, A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food Processing and Consumption, 1992, p. 20
- John Ayto (18 October 2012). The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink. Oxford University Press. pp. 106–107. ISBN 978-0-19-964024-9.
- Crumpet, Online Dictionary.
- Edwards, W. P. The Science of Bakery Products, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2007, p. 198
- Luard, E. European Peasant Cookery, Grub Street, 2004, p. 449
- The folk-speech of south Cheshire, English Dialect Society, 1887, p. 293
- Wilson, C. A. Food & drink in Britain, Barnes and Noble, 1974, p. 266
- Davidson, A. The Penguin Companion to Food, 2002, p. 277
- The Concise Household Encyclopedia (ca. 1935) Fleetway House, The Amalgamated Press, London
- Traditional Scottish Recipes - Scottish Crumpets
- South African Crumpet Recipe
|Look up crumpet in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|