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English Crumpet

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A crumpet is a savoury bread made from flour and yeast. It is eaten mainly in the United Kingdom and other nations of the Commonwealth. A crumpet in this area is similar in appearance to a North American pancake. Crumpets may have been an Anglo-Saxon invention. In early times, they were hard pancakes cooked on a griddle, rather than the soft and spongy crumpets of the Victorian era which were made with yeast. The crumpet-makers of the Midlands and London developed the characteristic holes, by adding extra baking powder to the yeast dough.

Crumpets are generally circular, their shape comes from being restrained in the pan by a shallow ring. They have a characteristic flat top with many small pores and a half-chewy half-spongy texture. They may be cooked until ready to eat warm from the pan, but are frequently left slightly undercooked so that they may be cooled and stored before being eaten freshly-toasted. In Australia and New Zealand, branded square crumpets can be purchased from supermarkets, designed to easily fit in a standard toaster.

Crumpets are generally eaten hot with butter with or without a second topping. Popular second toppings are cheese (melted on top), honey, poached egg, jam, Marmite, salt, marmalade, peanut butter, cheese spread, golden syrup. The butter may be omitted - but a phrase very commonly associated with crumpets is "dripping with butter".

A Scottish crumpet is essentially a pancake cooked in slightly different way. They are available plain, or as a fruit crumpet with raisins baked in, and are not reheated before serving; condiments include jam, vegemite and marmite. The ingredients include a raising agent, usually baking powder, and different proportions of eggs, flour and milk which create a thin batter. Unlike a pancake, they are cooked to brown on one side only, resulting in a smooth darker side where it has been heated by the griddle, then lightly cooked on the other side which has holes where bubbles have risen to the surface during cooking. It bears little resemblance to the English crumpet.

This is the normal kind of crumpet in Scottish bakers' shops, tea rooms, and cafés, though the English type of crumpet is often obtainable in supermarkets in addition to the Scottish kind.

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