The Great Crumpet Smackdown

The Great Crumpet Smackdown took place in a Weight Watchers meeting when I was about 13 years old. This was in the days before Points. Weight Watchers didn't let you eat just any old thing you fancied back then. It had to be on The List of Stuff You're Allowed To Eat.

One night after weigh-in we were sitting around in a circle airing our grievances and confessing our sins when a woman asked our lovely leader, "Why can't I have a crumpet?"

"Crumpets are not on the list."

"Why not? I read the nutritonal information on the packet. One crumpet is only 330 kilojoules (86 calories). That's less than a piece of bread. It doesn't make any sense!"

"They're not on the list!"

"We can have bread, bread rolls, pita bread, English muffins… but no crumpets. What's so wrong about a crumpet?"

"Because they're inevitably served dripping with butter! And/or honey!"

"But I don't HAVE butter or honey on my crumpet. I don't even have Weight Watchers Whipped Margarine! I have a plain, toasted crumpet with either banana or Vegemite."

"They're not on the list."

"WHY aren't they on the list?"

And on it went.

I remember being conflicted on the issue. Part of me thought, "Well hey, if it's not on the list, you know… we really should obey the list". But the teenager hitherto lacking a cause to rebel against was thinking, "Just let the woman eat her bloody crumpet!"

The incident was seared into my memory. One one of the first purchases I made as an independent householder was a packet of Golden Crumpets. I had them with butter AND honey and yes indeed, they were Golden Good. It was all downhill from there, as has been well documented on this blog.

I've wanted to bake my own crumpets since Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini blogged her Sourdough Crumpet recipe in January 2010. I bought some crumpet rings then promptly did nothing for 20 months. Then when Carla and I were coming up with our Five Fun Things for the podcast I decided it was time to give them a red hot go. Messing around with a sourdough starter was beyond my interest level so I went for a straightforward recipe from The Hairy Bikers (Edit: here's a video of them in crumpet action!). For those not in the know, The Hairy Bikers are two hairy blokes on the telly who ride around the countryside on motorbikes and cook things.

The crumpets were simple and satisfying to make. All that rising and waiting and rising and waiting was very soothing somehow. It was such a sweet feeling when I finally poured the batter into the crumpet rings and it went all bubbly like real live crumpets.

Crumpet

I ate the first one with doused with too much butter and eucalyptus honey as a two finger salute to the crumpet fascists of yesteryear. The rest were enjoyed more sensibly over the next few days. My favourite topping is a little butter and a scraping of Vegemite. Well worth the effort on a lazy Sunday if you like that sort of thing!

Crumpet3
P.S. I posted about my crumpetry on the Up & Running forum and the wonderful Yvonne replied: "I never considered that they could be made. I assumed God just dropped them out of the sky ready made, like babies." Snortle!

Crumpet4

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33 thoughts on “The Great Crumpet Smackdown

  1. Wow, they look fantastic!! I love honey on crumpets too, definitely my favourite way to have them.

    Have you noticed crumpets in the UK seem to come already with grill marks?! They look more like sponges back home!

    And PFFT to the crumpet fascists. Sounded like crumpet wasn’t being let into the WW VIP nightclub there! ;)

    Do give the sourdough a try, it’s such fun! I’m going to give it another try when I’m back from Oz. Can’t really face the idea of taking it on holiday with me, wouldn’t get past quarantine either I imagine!! xx

  2. Wait, wait, wait! You mean there are CRUMPET RINGS? AHAHAHAH! No wonder the ones I made, once, many years ago sucked so bad…I used egg rings. The crumpets were like Aero Bar hockey pucks!

  3. you are so clever – they look sooooo goooood! I love the two-finger salute to the crumpet fascists – SOLID GOLD mate ((hugs))

  4. @skinnylatte – if I lived closer I would have totally looked after the starter for you, as one does for a neighbours cat. Hehe.

    @Kada – I'm not sure if they're much different from egg rings – just a little bigger? I didn't have eggs rings so got those fellas. Any ring experts out there let me know, hehe :)

    @LBTEPA thank you matey xx

  5. A friend was JUST telling me about crumpets last week. She had tried them in San Francisco over the summer and liked them better than English muffins…But they really look the same to me. I love English muffins…I wonder if they really are the same thing?

    Anyway, yours look wonderful and I would have them dripping with real butter. Oh yum!

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever had a crumpet. Do you think it would be possible to make w/o crumpet rings? Do you think that cooking stores here in the States would look at me like I was a crazy person if I tried to find crumpet rings? Are crumpets the same thing as English muffins? (SO MANY QUESTIONS!)

  7. @Amy & Dana – crumpets are different from English muffins. They’re lighter but thicker and have all these holes in them for the butter (or Weight Watchers margarine) to soak into. There’s a Wikipedia link in the second paragraph that explains it a little better than me, but the important thing to know is that they’re tasty. Hehe! :)

  8. Yeah, I kinda thought they dropped from heaven too… it has NEVER dawned on me to make them. I hate the store-madeness of the packet ones but do love the idea of a good bit of crumpet (haha). I may just have to try this out!

  9. Damn you Shauna! I open I’m easily led, but after reading that I must have crumpets NOW. With a little butter & a nano layer of vegemite.

  10. Don’t forget, readers, that ‘crumpet’ and ‘bit of crumpet’ as in “she’s his bit of crumpet” are not the same thing. Do not attempt to put the latter in the oven.

  11. Ooh yum! Must add “crumpet rings” to ever increasing list for father in law! They look amazing Shauna!

  12. Gorgeous! So glad you shared the photos. I bet WW just hadn’t heard of crumpets. This is why following someone else’s rules sucks!

  13. I’ll see if I can find some crumpet rings, now we’re back in Aus. If not, perhaps Alaskaboy can make them less like hockey pucks since he’s the dab hand with the dough.

    Joined up at T.O.W.N weight loss club recently, and with all the old ducks getting together and cooing about “good” and “bad” foods and watching everyone stripping off as they queued up for the weigh in I was wishing you were with me so we could giggle about it together.

    Oh, and Kiddlywink saw my dietgirl book the other day and said, “Aunty Shauna!!!!”

  14. Mm bloody mmm! Never knew there was a recipe for crumpets. Here in Japan I’ve never seen one. Will try to get a hold of some rings so I can make some at home. Yours look way better than any I’ve ever seen:)

  15. SO COOL!!!!

    I tried making crumpets a few years ago – I was living in Canada, couldn’t find them anywhere, and none of my international housemates had any idea what they were. Tried a recipe off the net, several times actually, but ultimately they didn’t work. One of the first things I had when I got back to Aus was crumpets!!

    Now, seeing your success, I’m a bit inspired to try again… even though I can get them from woolies anytime I like!

  16. Crumpets! God, I love them, and I’d never imagined they could be made, either :-)

    Best topping for me – vegemite and avocado, maybe with a slice of tomato on top…

  17. Fluffy pillowy crumpets! Very impressed, impressed enough to comment after years of stalking. Weight loss, self-actualisation, all well and good – homemade crumpets get at least ten cool points. Also, you make me miss Britain. You can only have so many baguettes. (No, that’s not true, actually.)

    Have a lovely week and an excellent breakfast tomorrow xx

  18. OMG these crumpets look amazing! I’ve never had home-made ones but after seeing these I am definitely going to try. Think I’ll experiment with a vegan version of the recipe you used. Can’t wait!

  19. These look amazing, Shauna! I might just have to give them a crack as a X-mas breakky dish! I had to giggle at your WW experience – when I was doing the program in around 2002, we had a rather bolshy/tyranical lady facilitating the sessions – a sort of cross between Little Britain characters and the Roald Dahl’s Trunchbull!

  20. uh oh! I read this article on a day when there is a lot of cake in my office – and now looking at this food porn there is just too much temptation around!!!

    Looks yummy :) Beats my museli that I had for breakfast!

  21. Add me to the list of one who has never eaten a crumpet. I wonder if an empty, clean tuna can would work as a crumpet ring? I bet it would … I’ve made English muffins before, also a fun cooking exercise. So glad you shared this!

  22. Would you believe this American doesn’t even know what a crumpet is, but the post was compelling enough to almost bring me to tears. The “rules”, the 13 yr. old in WW meetings, the rebelling and the struggles. And, now that I am looking, the crumpets look might darn good.

  23. Oh YES, yes, yes! I feel a crumpet attack coming on (somehow this whole sentence sounds risque, doesn’t it?). Honestly, I always thought they were something that had to be made in a special way, using expensive equipment, in a crumpet factory. I never dreamed of making them because my grandma never did it and she is the barometer of ‘what can be done in the kitchen’.

  24. I consider myself the thinking man’s crumpet :D
    They are yum, but not particularly filling (particularly at this time of the month when I want to inhale carbohydrates).
    Yes, I remember the “old” WW – I think I might have done it at about the age of 13, with subsequent 18 or 19 years of body image doubting.
    pffffft, indeed.

  25. I never used to like crumpets. But I had one recently out of desperation because there was nothing else to eat … And you know the rest. It was tasty and drippy and crunchy and gorgeous. I’ll be having more I think although I can’t quite bring myself to buy them. I have to eat someone else’s!

  26. The phrase “too much butter” doesn’t make sense, was it a typo? ;) They look lovely, I’d try a bite of the sourdough one!!! yay!