In my opinion, one of the best things about traveling is trying new foods. We make it a practice when in a different area to try foods and restaurants that we don’t have the opportunity to try at home. Consequently, I have tried a lot of new foods, most of which I really enjoyed. Sometimes I try to cook those new foods when we return, with varying success rates.
We recently returned from a trip to Seattle, one of our favorite U.S. cities. Eric worked for 14 years for Seattle-based RealNetworks, and over those years our daughters and I accompanied him on his work trips whenever we could. The Pacific Northwest is such a beautiful part of the country, and we have found so much to enjoy in Seattle.
My preferred activity in Seattle is to shop at Pike Place Market. Located in downtown Seattle, the market has hosted hundreds of farmers, craftspeople and small businesses since 1907. It is truly the heart of the city, and I love to spend hours just walking around and soaking it all in.
One of my favorite places to visit in the market is The Crumpet Shop. The girls and I just happened upon it on one of our visits a few years ago. Having never tried crumpets, we wandered in to try them. Crumpets didn’t originate in Seattle, but we hadn’t ever tried them, and they aren’t something we’ve ever been able to find locally.
A few bites is all it took for me to be hooked that day, and so when I was finally able to return to Seattle, I knew I wanted to come back for more.
A crumpet is a small griddle cake made with an unsweetened batter containing flour, water and/or milk, and yeast. It originated and is most commonly eaten in the United Kingdom. A crumpet is similar to an English muffin in its appearance and taste and can be prepared either sweet (topped with cream cheese, jam, honey, etc.) or savory (topped with egg, ham, cheese, pesto, etc.).
On my most recent visit, I had two crumpets — one topped with ham, egg and cheese, and the second (nicknamed the Life Changer) topped with cream cheese, maple butter and walnut).
The Crumpet Shop is a family-owned and -operated business that has been serving delicious hot-off-the griddle crumpets, tea and coffee in Pike Place Market every morning since 1976. If you get a chance to visit Seattle, I highly recommend you head there to try the crumpets as well as bask in the cultural mecca of the market.
Upon my return, I decided to try to make some crumpets myself. While they were tasty, they didn’t match the flavor or appearance of the crumpets from The Crumpet Shop. Of course I didn’t have their recipe, their locally-sourced organic ingredients, or their special tools, especially the crumpet mold.
I made do with a recipe from the app All Recipes and a biscuit cutter. But I am determined to keep trying, because I love the unique flavor and texture of a crumpet. If any readers have been able to find good quality crumpets in the Tri-Cities or have a tried- and-true recipe, I would love to know!
In the meantime, here is the crumpet recipe I used and a picture of my own crumpets at home. After writing this article, I have decided I might just have to buy that crumpet mold after all.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons quick-rise instant yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups warm water (112 to 118 degrees F/44 to 48 degrees C)
1 1/4 cups warm milk (112 to 118 degrees F/44 to 48 degrees C)
4 3-inch metal cookie cutters with open tops or crumpet molds
Whisk 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Combine water and milk in a separate bowl and quickly whisk the milk mixture into the dry ingredients until batter is thick and smooth. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until spongy, about 1 hour. Stir dough to reduce sponginess.
Place a rack into the oven and preheat to 150 degrees F (65 degrees C).
Spray a skillet and round metal open-top cookie cutters or crumpet molds with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium-low heat, place the metal cutters or molds into the skillet, and let the molds heat up. Spoon batter into the molds, filling them about halfway. Let the crumpets cook until the bottoms are browned, the tops appear nearly dry, and popped bubbles appear on top, about 5 minutes.
Use tongs to lift molds out of the pan; remove molds from the crumpets. Flip and return crumpets to skillet to cook the other sides until browned, 1 to 2 more minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Keep cooked crumpets warm on rack in the preheated oven while you cook remaining crumpets.
Kingsport’s Angie Hyche is a community columnist for the Kingsport Times News.