Thursday, 25 February 2016

Side-by-Side Baking - Pikelets

Using store cupboard ingredients, pikelets are a historic bake being a thinner version of the familiar crumpet.  They are very easy to make resulting in a delicious breakfast or brunch!

Pikelets, made from a yeasted mixture

Some years ago I became the custodian of a group of seven or eight old family photographs.  The images, now over 100 years old, are fabulous and predominately show my great-grandfather in his Royal Garrison Artillery uniform with his medals pinned to his chest.  Most of the card images are taken in studios with peers alongside, but there are a couple which, to us, are even more interesting.   One shows him with colleagues in, what we imagine to be, India with a native gentleman sat upon an elephant whilst the photographer captured the moment.  Arguably the best photograph in our collection is a large canvas of, what we believe to be, James' wedding.  He sits in his military uniform whilst his new bride stands alongside in her heavy dress and wide brimmed hat.  It's a beautiful picture and fascinating on so many levels.

Family photograph over 100 yr old Family photograph over 100 yr old

Family photograph over 100 yr old


Sadly James and his new wife died in the Spanish flu epidemic orphaning my grandma, who was then but a toddler, and her sister.  As such we know only a small amount about her parents, so in recent years I have been doing a little genealogy.

This led me onto find an interesting ancestor of Mr Es.  After a couple of decades of working as a clerk in a woollen mill in the Pennine hills, we found Howard as a 40 year old working in a circus of all things!  It conjures images of red jacket wearing ring masters, acrobats and lion tamers!  Though, less romantically, Howard was actually employed as a manager.

Another of Mr E's ancestors seemed to have been a bit of an entrepreneur.  Having worked as a grocer for a number of years Albert went onto be a pikelet baker in Derbyshire.

Pikelets, made from a yeasted mixture

The occupation of 'pikelet baker' certainly pricked my curiosity, but to be honest I didn't know what a pikelet was.  So having looked it up in our trusted old fashioned Collins English Dictionary we learnt that they were 'a thin kind of crumpet'.  Many websites believe them to be of Welsh origin where it was known as ‘bara piglydd’, an 18th century phrase for 'pitchy bread', later anglicised to pikelet.  Like crumpets, pikelets are circular and are pitted with hollows allowing butter to melt into those hollows.  The hollows are formed from the bubbles created by the yeast or other raising agents which quickly rise to the surface of the crumpet or pikelet as a result of the heat beneath.  Unlike crumpets, pikelets are cooked on both sides, and I must admit that many of these hollows in our pikelets were lost once the upper surface of the pikelet was in contact with the frying pan.  The more familiar crumpet sees the batter spooned into rings and cooked on a griddle or skillet (frying pan).  However pikelets are cooked 'free-style' without the rings.  The mixture is spooned onto the hot skillet and as such are referred to as 'the poor man's crumpet', as there was need to purchase or make a metal ring.  

Never having made pikelets previously I searched for a recipe and to be honest that search left me none the wiser.   Every recipe was different.  Some included eggs, others didn't; some used plain flour and others SR flour; some included melted butter and others didn't.  I guess this is what comes with historic bakes - they change and morph into what works for different regions and individual families.
 
Pikelets, made from a batter containing SR Flour

So not knowing what was right or wrong, I decided to make two different batches of pikelets!  By jove, Mr E & I enjoyed a hearty breakfast that Sunday morning!  It certainly set us up for a good winter's walk!   The only alteration I made to the recipes was to scale back the volume of mixture, making it a little more realistic for the two of us to eat.

The first recipe (image below) is from Ruby Tandoh (a former GBBO contestants).  It is a yeasted mixture made with plain flour but no egg or butter.  The added liquid is a 50/50 ratio of milk and water. The mixture is beaten together and then set aside to allow the yeast to do its magic.  Over the course of an hour or so hundreds of bubbles develop within the mixture which indicates that the batter is ready to be cooked and breakfast served!   Now I must admit, although the mixture smelt good with the inclusion of the yeast, setting the batter aside for an hour wasn't ideal for breakfast with rumbling tummies crying out to be fed.   Once cooked, the hot pikelets were delicious, smothered in butter and jam!  This was Mr E's favourite.

Pikelets, made from a yeasted mixture

The second recipe (image below) is from The English Kitchen.  This recipe is far quicker to pull together as there is no waiting time with this batter.  It is made with SR flour, all milk, an egg and again no butter.  The author of this recipe states for the pikelets to be served cold, which to be honest I found to be a little strange.  I served them cold as guided and they were 'OK', but I have to admit that I scoffed a warm misshapen one as it left the frying pan and was overjoyed with the flavour.  This was my favourite mixture, eaten warm of course.  So should you try this recipe, please don't allow them to go cold.  Eat them fresh, they're so much nicer that way!

Pikelets, made from a batter containing SR Flour

Have you ever made pikelets and, if so, what sort of mixture do you whip up?



So let's get to it and bake! 


Yeasted Pikelets.     Yum

Pikelets, made from a yeasted mixture
Yield: 7 Pikelets
Serves: 2
Difficulty: Easy 
Time: hands on time 10 - 15 minutes; plus an hour or so resting time. 
Freezable: Yes (defrost & re-heat to serve)   

You will need:

Mixing Bowl
Balloon Whisk
Tablespoon
Non-Stick Frying Pan (Skillet) / Griddle
Kitchen Paper

For the yeasted pikelets

50ml Milk
50ml Boiling Water
65g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Instant Dried Yeasr
Pinch Caster Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
Oil / Butter to grease


How to make them:

1.  Make the batter.  Combine the water and milk in a jug.  Place the flour into the bowl with the yeast, sugar and salt (not allowing the salt to come into direct contact with the yeast).  Gently stir together the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the flour and pour in the lukewarm liquid.   Use the balloon whisk to gradually combine the liquid with the flour by stirring the liquid in the bowl which will slowly pull the flour into the mixture.  Mix to make a smooth batter.  Beat vigorously.

2.  Set aside.  Cover the bowl with cling film or a plate and set aside at room temperature for around an hour until the mixture has almost doubled in size and is full of bubbles.

3.  Prepare to cook.  Stir the batter.  Place a frying pan (or similar) onto a medium heat and allow to become warm.  Drizzle in a small amount of oil / butter.  Use a piece of kitchen paper to smear the oil around the pan, removing any excess as you would when making pancakes.  

4.  Cook.  Use a tablespoon to place a circle of the mixture into the hot frying pan.  The mixture should begin to bubble immediately creating a crumpet like texture.  Cook for around 1 -2 minutes and once the upper surface is set flip the pikelet over with a spatula to cook the other side until golden.

Enjoy with butter and jam


Notes:

a)  Ruby tells us to cook the first pikelet on its own, 'sacrificial' style as we would a pancake. This allows us to gauge if the mixture is of the correct thickness.  If the bubbles don't appear relatively straight away when cooking, it suggests the batter is a little too thick and the bubbles are struggling to break the surface of the batter.  If this happens simply stir in a little more milk.
b) You should be able to cook around 4 - 6 pikelets simultaneously once you have the correct thickness of batter, though this will depend upon the size of your frying pan.  If cooking in batches, grease with a little more oil/butter before cooking the subsequent pikelets.



Pikelets.     Yum

Pikelets, made from a batter containing SR Flour
Yield: 8 Pikelets
Serves: 2
Difficulty: Easy 
Time: hands on time 10 - 15 minutes. 
Freezable: Yes (defrost & re-heat to serve)   
Adapted from: The English Kitchen

You will need:

Mixing Bowl
Balloon Whisk
Tablespoon
Non-Stick Frying Pan (Skillet) / Griddle
Kitchen Paper
Fish Slice / Spatula

For the pikelets

50g SR Flour
10g Caster Sugar
Pinch Salt
60ml Milk
1 small Egg
Butter to grease


How to make them:

1.  Make the batter.  Sift the flour into the bowl with the sugar and salt.  Gently stir together the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the flour.  Break the egg into a jug and lightly beat it with a fork to break it up.  Add the milk to the egg and stir together.  Pour the eggy-milk mixture into the well of the flour.  Use the balloon whisk to gradually combine the liquid with the flour by stirring the liquid in the bowl which will slowly pull the flour into the mixture. Continue mixing until you have a smooth batter.  Beat well.

2.  Prepare to cook.  Place a frying pan (or similar) onto a medium heat and allow to become warm.  Add a small knob of butter. Allow to melt.  Use a piece of kitchen paper to smear the melted butter around the pan, removing any excess as you would when making pancakes.  

3.  Cook.  Use a tablespoon to place a circle of the mixture into the hot frying pan.  The mixture will eventually create bubbles on the surface of the pikelet . Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the bottom is lightly browned.  The upper surface will be largely set at this point.  Use a spatula to flip the pikelet over and cook the other side until golden.

Enjoy with butter and jam!

Notes:

a) The English Kitchen strongly suggests serving these pikelets cold with butter and jam, however we found them to be far tastier eaten warm straight from the pan.
b) When cooking this mixture, the bubbles took longer to appear than with the yeasted recipe above.
c) You should be able to cook around 4 - 6 pikelets simultaneously depending upon the size of your frying pan.  If cooking in batches, grease with a little more butter before cooking the subsequent pikelets.





This post has been shared with:

Five Star Frou-Frou hosted by Mimi over at A Tray of Bliss 

 Tea-Time Treats co-hosted by Karen at Lavender & Lovage and Janie over at The Hedge Comber.  This month's theme is 'Pancakes, Hotcakes & Waffles' and is hosted by Karen this month.

Inheritance Recipes co-hosted by Pebble Soup and Coffee and Vanilla

The Mummy Toolbox CookBlogShare Monkey and Mouse Link up your recipe of the week





32 comments:

  1. I love your old photos Angela, what a fascinating story behind them. We grew up calling crumpets pikelets (I think it's a Midlands thing), it wasn't until I was older that we called them crumpets and I learnt that pikelets were flatter and free form. Your pikelets look delicious, I haven't made any for awhile but I used a yeast mixture, would be interesting to try the SR flour version. Thanks for sharing x

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    1. They're fabulous photos aren't they. I love digging them out and just looking through them from time to time.
      I'd love to read about your pikelet recipe one day Sarah. The SR flour version I guess isn't traditional (I'd imagine the yeasted version being more traditional) but it's far quicker to make and tasty too if eaten warm.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Sarah,
      Angela x

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  2. Those photos are fascinating and I loved reading about your family history. I've never made a pikelet before but I'll have to try them one day as they sound lovely! Thanks for linking up with #cookblogshare

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    1. I love those photos but because they're so old they are a tad more difficult to store. I'm keen to find out more about James' military career (how he achieved his rank and the stories behind the medals as well as the campaigns he went on etc) but I'm sadly struggling on that front as I don't have his army number and I've come across his surname being spelt differently in the census returns.
      Do give pikelets a go Mandy, they really yummy.
      Thanks for popping by and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  3. Fascinating post, Angela. I love learning new things about food! And what a lovely background story. Makes me want to check out my family history and see if I have any foodie ancestors :-) You know I am a big fan of your side by side experiments (do more please!) and I love this one...I have to agree with you, having to wait an hour for breakfast would not suit me at all! Mind you these strike me as a nice teatime thing too and for that I would be happy to wait an hour (or rather start an hour earlier - eating an hour later, not so good!) And definitely agree about having them hot. They remind me a little of scotch pancakes (or at least that's what we called them in our house growing up, I think they have another name but I can't for the life of me think of what that is at the moment...clearly in need of that snack break) which I absolutely love hot and can't stand cold - why would anyone want to serve a pancake cold??? Right I'm off to find that leftover feta :-) Eb x

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    1. :-) Thank you Eb, I love doing my 'side-by-side posts', and yet I've not posted one since before Christmas (how did that happen!) I presently have a couple of side-by-sides waiting in the wings but they won't be posted for a couple of weeks yet as I have a few things which NEED to be posted relatively soon.
      Having tasted cold pikelets, I can confirm that our hunch was right - they're waaay better warm. I love your suggestion of enjoying the yeasted ones (or even the quicker ones for that matter) as a teatime treat.
      Thank you for you for the lovely comments Eb, as always,
      Angela x

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  4. The post is fantastic! I love it so much:)
    Have a nice weekend!

    www.theprintedsea.blogspot.com

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  5. how fascinating - i'd never heard of those either. Most foods like this would be better warm i'd imagine so i'd agree with you on eating them warm. x

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    1. It is fascinating Rebecca, I love coming across old recipes. oh yes, they have to be enjoyed to be enjoyed warm in my book.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Rebecca,
      Angela x

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  6. My mum used to buy me these all the time when I was I child; they are sometime I've not had since.
    It never occurred to me that I could make them!
    Thank you for sharing x

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    1. I hope you have a go at making your own when you have chance,
      thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  7. What lovely photos and history - so interesting. I love that you tried two different methods - they both look scrummy - pinning for future reference x

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    1. Thank you Sarah, I love those images - they really intrigue me. I'm determined to find out more about my great-grandfather (though it's proving to be somewhat difficult at the moment).
      Thank you for your kind comments Sarah,
      Angela x

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  8. What great old photos and I loved reading the history behind them! So interesting. I love pikelets so will be trying these recipes :) I have pinned the second one #HowToSunday

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    1. They're fabulous pictures aren't they - I love how tangible they are. Pikelets are delicious aren't they, I'd love to hear how you get on with them if you give it a go.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  9. These pikelettes look so yummy..I'm hungry right now! I'll be tiring the second recipe, warm of course!

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    1. Ooh, yes, definitely warm! I'd love to hear how you get on with them, hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  10. I love your side-by-side baking experiments they are so useful! (and always make me hungry) and these are no different! I have never had pickelets but we do like crumpets so I think we could like these! Thanks for linking up this week! :) #YumTum

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    1. If you like crumpets Charlotte, you're bound to like pikelets.
      Thaks you for your lovely comments, and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  11. What fascinating old photos. I love historic and regional recipes, so interesting to discover. I must go back to making them again. Your pikelets look lovely

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    1. Historic and regional recipes are fascinating aren't they - just look at what mince pies (what we enjoy traditionally at Christmas Time) were traditionally made from!
      Thank you for your lovely comments Alison,
      Angela x

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  12. A WONDERFUL post and such a lovely recipe too! Thanks so much for adding them to Tea Time Treats - and sorry for my later reply, but I have been away for 2 weeks! Karen

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    1. Aw thank you Karen :-) I hope you had a lovely couple of weeks away,
      Thanks for popping by and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  13. They look similar to a pancake recipe we use, but with the addition of yeast, it looks tasty though! I love genealogy and have recently been watching some older episodes of Who Do You Think You Are, so interesting. What happened to your grandma and her sister when they were orphaned, who raised them? :) x

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    1. They really were tasty, Jenny :-)
      Thankfully grandma and her sister were lucky given the situation and were kept out of the orphanage by being brought up by their mum's side of the family, so they were amongst their cousins in a large family house.
      It's so fascinating looking back into the family tree. I've been doing most of it through the aid of Ancestry. We've been to visit the lovely village where grandma and her sister lived for those short years with their parents.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Jenny,
      Angela x

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  14. I love pikelets and prefer them to crumpets. I will be pinning this on to my to try board. The hubby will be impressed when I have them. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

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    1. Haha, sounds like that'll be some extra brownie points for you then Kirsty :-) I prefer pikelets to crumpets too.
      Thanks for popping by and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  15. I love reading such a interesting family stories!! Thank you for sharing with #InheritanceRecipes :)

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    1. Thank you Margot :-)
      Thank you for hosting, I've just nicely stumbled across your linky, such an interesting one :-)
      Angela x

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  16. I'm making these NOW what a brilliant story too. thank you so much for linking to #inheritancerecipes. Hope to see you again next month. did you know that we relay to 1K6 on Pinterest. (plug over :)

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    1. Aw thank you Solange :-) I certainly hope to call by again next month, great idea for a linky :-)
      I'll check out the Pinterest,
      Thanks for your lovely comment Solange and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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