Wednesday 3 February 2016

One Year On!

This time last year, we had a light dusting of snow. I posted about the crocuses in the garden, and the joys of having an open fire [here] and said I am excited about having a real hearth in the lounge. We’ve been given some firewood, and it was fantastic to sit watching the flames the other evening. I am excited about the prospect of a toasting fork and crumpets! Childhood memories of winter evenings…
Well it has taken us a whole year to get round to it! At the weekend I found some reduced crumpets [only 18p for 6] and so Bob improvised with my long handled carving fork and we slathered the crumpets with butter and honey. They were gorgeous. But my friend C saw the picture on fb and said she thought they looked like pikelets.

Once at Uni, my landlady offered me pikelets for tea, and I thought they were small fish. I was even more confused when she said there was jam or golden syrup to spread on them! Once we had sorted out that we were discussing what I called crumpets, she said 'pikelets' was a Midlands term, and the Civil War soldiers used to stick the yeasty discs on their pikes, to toast them round the campfire.

However, recent research has led me to this explanation of the difference
Crumpets were originally hard, it was not until the Victorian era that they became soft and spongy as we know them today. The characteristic holes are developed by adding extra baking powder to the yeast dough and fermentation can improve the flavour.The pikelet is believed to be of Welsh origin where it was known as ‘bara piglydd’ which means ‘pitchy bread’, later anglicised as pikelet. It is often called the ‘poor man’s crumpet’ as it was made by those who could not afford rings to make crumpets and so would drop the batter freely into the pan. Both are generally round and with small pockets in them, but as crumpets are made in rings, they can be made into any shape by simply changing the shape of the ring, such as squares, hearts, animal shapes etc. With a pikelet this is not possible as there is no ring.

I am not clear what 'pitchy bread' means. Is it 'pitched' [ie thrown] into the pan, or is it black and sticky underneath?  Whatever you call them, I greatly enjoyed this treat - and at 3p a time, they were hardly an extravagance. But I really must find a proper toasting fork with a longer handle!
What do you call these? 
How do you toast yours? 
and what do you spread on them?


  1. Butter all the way. Pikelets always look flat uneven, rather like you described. I like them all!!!Xx

  2. Crumpets, butter, jam (homemade) - perfect teatime comfort food - I now want crumpets and it is not even tea time!

  3. My daughter gave me two toasting forks last Christmas. Now we can open the woodburner door and toast something for each of us at the same time : )

  4. What a practical pair of presents!!

  5. At my grandmas house the only way to make toast was using the fire, she had no grill or toaster.

    Love crumpets and spread with butter and jam (blackcurrant is my favorite)

  6. The round deeper ones are crumpets. Pikelets are thinner and less well rounded. I like both with low fat spread and a bit of jam! Would love an open fire, I already have the toasting fork stored in the loft, it was made by my grandfather!

  7. We wish you many more happy years by your hearth- may the metaphorical crickets always chirp!- and many more crumpets too. We will have been in the Meadowplace for two years soon. It's the year of the curtains now!


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