Read an Excerpt
Crumpets are straight-sided, pale, round and hot, honeycombed with holes, ideal for absorbing butter. They are made from a thin batter poured into rings on a hot griddle. (Pikelets, which come from Derbyshire and Yorkshire, are very like crumpets but they are flatter, cooked without rings, and do not have such good holes.)
225 g/8 oz plain flour
10 ml/2 tsp salt
225 g/8 oz strong plain flour
300 ml/1/2 pint milk mixed with
300 ml/1/2 pint water
30 ml/2 tbsp oil
5 ml/1 tsp, sugar
15 g/1/2 oz fresh or 2 tsp dried yeast
2.5 ml/1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100 ml/4 fl oz warm water
3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk mixed with
1 1/4 cups water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp, baking soda
7 tbsp warm water
Sift the flour and salt into a warm bowl, cover, and place in a very low oven for ten minutes. Warm the milk, water, oil and sugar, then add 60ml/4 tbsp/1/2 cup of this to the yeast, which should soon froth and go creamy. If using dried yeast, stir the yeast into all the liquid and leave in a warm place until frothy. Make a well in the centre of the warmed flour, and pour in the yeast mixture, then the rest of the liquid, if any. Stir and beat the batter energetically for a good five minutes, incorporating as much air as possible. Cover the bowl and leave it for two hours at warm room temperature, until the surfaceis covered with bubbles. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda or baking soda in 2-3 tbsp warm water and stir it into the batter, beating for another couple of minutes. Cover the bowl again and leave it for another hour.
Lightly grease a griddle, large heavy frying pan or skillet with lard or shortening. Place the crumpet rings on the griddle, some three or four at a time, filling each ring almost to the top with the mixture, and heat gently for eight to ten minutes until the surface becomes pitted with holes. Slip the rings off and turn the crumpets over to cook for another four minutes. You can either butter them immediately and eat them while hot, or save them to toast on both sides a little later. N.B. If holes do not appear in your first batch as markedly as you would wish, add a little warm water to the rest of the batter and your remaining crumpets will be properly labyrinthine.
7.5-10 cm (3-4 inches) wide x 2.5 cm, (1 inch) deep, greased
Makes 8-10 crumpets
Rose Petal Jam
This surprising jam has a power and delicacy of flavour which goes well with wafer-thin white bread spread with unsalted butter.
225 g/8 oz dark red rose petals
450 g/1 lb granulated or preserving sugar
1.1 litres/2 pints water (clean rainwater if possible)
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 lb dark red rose petals
1 lb sugar
5 cups water (clean rainwater if possible)
juice of 2 lemons
Snip the white triangles from the rose petal bases, then tear the petals to shreds. Sprinkle them with enough sugar from the main quantity to cover them, and leave overnight. This intensifies the fragrance and darkens the crimson of the petals. Dissolve the sugar in the water and lemon juice over a low heat. Stir in the sugared rose petals and simmer for 20 minutes. Bring to the boil, and boil for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. This jam is not brought to setting point, so disregard the usual tests. Pot, cover and store in the conventional manner.
Makes about 500 g/1 IbThe London Ritz Book of Afternoon Tea. Copyright � by Helen Simpson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.