Ask Eric: How to make Scottish-style crumpets

Dear Eric: Do you have a recipe for Scottish crumpets? Mac

Dear Mac: Your request gave me an opportunity to do research on a food I didn’t know much about.

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I have often enjoyed English-style crumpets. They are about the same size as an English muffin, are delightfully chewy and have a surface flecked with tiny holes.

To make them, you heat a skillet and set in greased crumpet or pastry rings. The yeast-infused crumpet batter gets spooned into the rings and you cook the crumpet on both sides until cooked through, before unmoulding and enjoying as desired.

It turns out that a Scottish-style crumpet is quite different from an English-style one. It’s more like a pancake, the batter of which is yeast-free, but it does have an ingredient to leaven it, such as baking powder or beaten egg whites. The latter is what I used in the recipe below.

The fairly thin batter for Scottish crumpets is spooned directly onto the cooking surface, no ring required. The crumpets are cooked to brown on one side, then flipped and lightly cooked on the other side. As with an English-style crumpet, it is on that side that tiny holes develop on the surface. When you spread butter and jam or any other preserve over the side with those holes, the spread seeps in, flavouring the entire crumpet. Add a cup of tea and life will be good.

Scottish-style Crumpets

Appealing, slightly chewy, pancake-like crumpets that taste fine spread with butter and jam, or anything else you think would work well with them, whether savoury or sweet. They are traditionally rolled up before eating. If this yields too many crumpets for you, you could halve the recipe.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: About 5 minutes per batch of crumpets

Makes: About 14 crumpets

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2 large egg yolks

1 3/4 cups milk plus 2 Tbsp

2 Tbsp butter, melted

2 large egg whites

• vegetable oil spray or melted butter for cooking

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. In a second bowl, combine the egg yolks, milk and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until a fairly thin batter is created.

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Whisk quarter of the whites into the batter. Now gently fold the rest of the whites into the batter.

Preheat the oven to 200 F. Preheat a large non-stick or well-seasoned griddle to medium or medium-high heat. Lightly coat the surface with vegetable oil spray or melted butter.

Cooking in batches, pour 1/4-cup amounts of the batter on the griddle, creating crumpets about 5-inches wide, and leaving a 2-inch space between each one you create. Flip the crumpets when they are golden on the bottom and speckled with bubbles on top, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side about 60 to 90 seconds. Keep cooked crumpets warm in the oven while you cook the rest. Serve and enjoy with butter and jam or other preserve.

Eric options: I served the crumpets warm, but you could also enjoy them at room temperature.

Tour and Taste in North Saanich

If you have no plans next weekend, that might change when you learn about the tasty things happening in North Saanich.

From Friday to Sunday, this food- and drink-rich part of Vancouver Island is hosting its annual North Saanich Flavour Trail. It’s a fine opportunity for locals and visitors alike to tour this scenic area, taste and sip, and have too much fun.

The event kicks off Friday at 6 p.m. at award-winning Muse Winery, 11195 Chalet Rd. On the menu that evening will be a local food-inspired barbecue, live music and a display of local art. Dishes being served include winemaker’s ribs, Bistro Muse salad, burgers with all the fixings, veggie skewers, coleslaw and berry crumble. Tickets for the meal are $25 per person; non-alcoholic refreshments and a cash wine bar will be available. Tickets can be bought at Muse Winery, or be reserved by phone by calling 250-656-2552.

On Saturday at 9:30 a.m., the Flavour Trail continues to roll at North Saanich Farm Market, 10990 West Saanich Rd. After enjoying what the market has to offer, you can pick up a festival brochure. You can also get a brochure beforehand at North Saanich Municipal Hall, libraries and recreation centres, or download one at the event website, flavourtrails.com.

In the brochure you’ll find information that will allow to take a one- or two-day self-guided tour, in your car or on your bike, of 16 North Saanich venues offering a delightful mix of things to enjoy, such as good food, wine and other beverages, culture and wonderful scenery.

Late Saturday afternoon, after you’re done touring, you can end the day grandly by attending Sip and Savour. This two-part event takes place in Sidney at Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave.

The Sip part of the event takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. and offers an opportunity to taste fine coffee and local wine, spirits and cider. The Savour part of the event starts at 7 p.m. and those partaking will be served a fine, local-food-rich dinner.

Tickets for Sip and Savour can be purchased at the Mary Winspear Centre box office, online at marywinspear.ca, or by telephone at 250-656-0275. Tickets for Sip are $25 person and include six tastings. Tickets for Savour are $50 for the dinner, with wine available for purchase. If you wish to attend both Sip and Savour, the cost is $70 per person.

There’s a lot going on during the North Saanich Flavour Trail, so check out the event website noted above to ensure you maximize your participation. Also, for the most up-to-date information, visit the event Facebook page, facebook.com/FlavourTrails.

Eric Akis is the author of the hardcover book Everyone Can Cook Everything. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday. Send your cooking questions to Eric by email or write Ask Eric, Times Colonist, 2621 Douglas St., Victoria B.C., V8T 4M2

eakis@timescolonist.com

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