When I finished making these, I said, "These are the easiest recipe in the whole book. Why aren't they on the Q&E list?" Then I realized that nothing made with yeast is exactly quick and easy, or at least not quick, but these are about as close as they come. Granted, they're not as easy as going to the freezer and pulling out a store-bought crumpet, but they're so much better we're not even talking about the same thing. Given my choice between a scone and a crumpet, I'd always take a scone, but I could see how you could get quite attached to the idea of an afternoon cup of tea with a lovely crumpet.
While you might not always have everything on hand to make scones, especially if you want to serve them with clotted cream, you're likely always to be able to make crumpets, at least if you consider yeast and cream of tartar to be staples, which I do.
This is the batter, made just with flour, yeast, sugar, cream of tartar, and water, beaten until smooth. While you're waiting the five minutes for the dough to become smooth, you might ask yourself, how did the name "crumpet" come to be? It turns out that no one knows for sure. It might come from crompid cake, which means curled-up cake. Or it might be from Celtic, related to krampouezh (Breton for crepe) or crempog, Welsh for pancake.
During the hour or so that it takes the batter to rise, and the half-hour that it takes for a second rise after you add milk and baking soda, you might also realize that in the 20th century, crumpet has come to mean a woman, probably an attractive one with loose morals. That usage might originate from Cockney rhyming slang for strumpet. Apparently muffins means something and similar. "In the 19th and early 20th centuries, 'muffins and crumpets' was a familiar street-cry in the U.K." And I take it that it wasn't bakers who were calling this out.
Once you start cooking these on a griddle, you're not going to have time to think about etymology because they really don't take but a trice to cook up. The electric griddle is nice, although I had mine set at 375 because it's nonstick, and I think it should have been at 350. Like pancakes, the crumpets start to bubble up when they're ready to flip, but the bubbles stay in the finished product.
Rose said she kept adding more liquid to the recipe until her crumpets had "more of the holey texture characteristic of a commercial crumpet." But I think these have even more holes, and they definitely have a better texture. That is, they have no resemblance to cardboard. Also they're delicious.
These turn out to be a little thicker than the cardboard crumpets you can buy. I think you could possibly make a few more if you wanted them a bit thinner. I like to eat them for breakfast instead of toast because then I'm eating them as a meal instead of a snack, and I'm on a no-snack diet right now. I'm not sure how I'm going to work in the chocolate ganache tartlets that are coming up soon into breakfast. Maybe I'll just pretend it's a breakfast Pop-Tart.