& COOKING ARTICLE
seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding what Pikelets
are, and the proliferation of recipe and cooking web
sites over the last ten years has probably done nothing
more than make things even more confusing. So before
anyone starts to get on their high horse as to what
Pikelets are let me remind you that the English language
started right here in the UK. So what the Australians
call Pikelets are not Pikelets . . . or are they!
Pikelets are basically a thin crumpet
. . . or a crumpet is a thick Pikelet! In other words
the recipe for each is very similar and the biggest
difference is how they are cooked.
Why they are called Crumpets or Pikelets
seems rather confused. There is some resemblance to
the word crumpet in some of the old English words -
crompid means cake or the word crompeht means a flat
cake, literally full of crumples and wrinkled. There
are some suggestions that Crumpet comes from the Anglo-Saxon
crump meaning to curl up but I can't see that as there
is nothing curled up about a crumpet. Then again the
modern crumpet is not what they would have been eating
in Anglo-Saxon times.
I have been unable to find any sources
as to where the name Pikelet comes from. There is some
suggestion that the name originates in Australia or
New Zealand . . . but I am not sure that is necessarily
correct. Everything you read about crumpets or Pikelets
seems to be contradictory. For example, it is claimed
the Welsh call Pikelets 'crempog' but having looked
at various recipes for 'crempog' they appear to be small
pancakes - most commonly called Scotch Pancakes these
days. (Any Australians or Kiwis out there like to
enlighten me as to the origins of the name Pikelets!)
It would be reasonable to assume that
there would have been no single recipe for crumpets
of Pikelets. The recipe ingredients are very simple
and there must have been many regional variations of
this simple mixture cooked on a hot stone or griddle.
With little or no travel from one area to another there
simply wouldn't be one recipe, there would be regional
It is also suggested that the modern day
crumpet is the invention of Victorian bakers so where
does that leave us?
Crumpets are baked on a griddle in a metal
ring and, because of the action of the heat from below
on the yeast and the raising agent, bubbles are formed
quickly and burst at the surface, giving an uneven,
pitted top. Pikelets are thinner, and are baked on a
griddle without a ring to hold them. Pikelets are also
cooked on both sides.
Whatever the truth about crumpets or Pikelets
we can still enjoy them for what they are.
Ingredients for Pikelets
8 oz / 225g strong white flour
1 level tsp salt
½ oz / 15g fresh yeast
¼ pt / 150ml warm milk*
¼ pt warm water*
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tbsp cold water
1 egg white, lightly beaten
* It is important to have the right temperature
(40°C / 104°F) when mixing so that the mixture
will be warm enough for the yeast to start fermenting
quickly. If the temperature is too high it will start
to kill the yeast so it is best to use a thermometer
to gauge the temperature which must be no higher than
43°C / 110°F.
How to make Pikelets
the flour and salt together into a large bowl and
mix in the yeast.
the warm milk and warm water and pour into the bowl
with the flour.
the mixture vigorously for 5 minutes to achieve a
smooth batter, then cover and put in a warm place
for about 30 minutes or until the risen mixture starts
the bicarbonate of soda in the cold water and beat
it into the batter.
fold in the beaten egg white to produce a thick batter
the consistency of whipping cream.
cook the Pikelets, lightly grease a griddle, hot plate
or heavy-based frying pan and heat until a drop of
the batter sizzles immediately on contact.
a full tablespoon of batter on to the hot surface
and cook until the top of the pikelet is no longer
pikelet over with a thin spatula or palette knife
and cook the other side until it is lightly browned.
either hot from the pan, or leave to cool then toast
To make crumpets:
Prepare the batter with 1 oz / 25g more flour and
cook the one side only , with the batter contained
in a greased 3 inch / 8cm ring on the cooking surface.
After cooking leave to cool and then serve toasted
Makes 12 Pikelets
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