“At home my father tears open a packet of crumpets and toasts them on the Aga. He puts so much butter on them that it runs through the holes and down our arms as we pull at the soft, warm dough with our teeth.”
Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger by Nigel Slater
“Will let Marcus butter the crumpets because he loved doing it. It was much better than buttering toast, because with toast you had that thing where if the butter was too cold and hard all you could do was scrape off the brown that made toast what it was, and he hated that. With crumpets it was effortless: you just put a lump of butter on top, waited for a few seconds, then messed it about until it started to disappear into the holes. It was one of the few occasions in life where things seem to go right every time.”
About a Boy by Nick Hornby
As you may have deduced from the quotes above, crumpets are the British version of…well, English muffins (confusing?), complete with “nooks and crannies.” They are slightly denser, thicker and more uniform in shape and size, made with yeast. They are cooked on a griddle or in a pan, and eaten whole, not split in two like English muffins.
Full disclosure: few British people actually make their own crumpets, and they are easily available in UK stores. However, if you would like to give it a go, make sure you have a set of metal rings to give the crumpets their signature round shapes. Crumpets are best served warm, with butter and a robust jam or marmalade. They are a fine addition to a teatime table, and lovely served with scrambled eggs at breakfast.