Of the many fond childhood memories I carry, that which I often reflect on is afternoon tea time. Afternoon tea in New Zealand (and I suppose the UK too) is a meal. It’s a 3 o’clock sit down, with a tea for the adults and an afternoon school ‘snack’ (as they call it here) for the kids. It’s a time to debrief about the day, take a break and refuel in order to make it through the following three hours until dinner time.
Here in Canada, Jesse and I have continued the morning tea (10.30am), afternoon tea (3pm) and evening tea (8pm) ritual whether we are at home or at our workplace, whether its tea, coffee or a shake. And although it’s a little out of place here (“you have a set time for your snacks??”) it works perfectly for Jesse and I who struggle to go 3 hours without our next meal, and if we took the ‘snacking’ route we would probably find ourselves nibbling. All day.
My favourite afternoon tea as a child was crumpets. Returning home from school to warm, toasted crumpets, smeared with butter and drizzled with honey, the sweet syrup dripping through the holes and down the sleeves of my school uniform. The crinkle of the plastic Golden wrapper (which always tears), that distinctive soda flavour, the deep cavities for the honey or jam to nestle in.
To make crumpets from scratch is incredibly satisfying. It is a super simple recipe, no waiting, kneading or resting as the batter is instantly activated by the mixing through of baking soda. Throw spoonfuls onto the hot skillet and watch them rise and bubble. Because I have a sourdough bubbling away, requiring emptying and feeding, I figured I could use all sourdough starter instead of yeast as I usually would when making these. It worked, but they didn’t bubble as much as expected. Mind you – the sourdough flavour is well worth the lack in bubbles.
Recipe from The Fresh Loaf
1 1/2 cups leftover 100% hydration starter (straight from the fridge works best)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Mix it together and watch it bubble!
Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Spray crumpet rings (or egg poaching rings) generously and place on skillet to heat. Pour in enough batter to fill rings, about 1/4 inch thickness. As bubbles begin to form, remove rings and repeat with remaining batter. (Bubbles may need a hand popping with something sharp). Flip and toast briefly on other side.
Serve warm with honey or whipped blueberry butter (recipe below)
Whipped Blueberry Butter
1/2 cup blueberries (frozen)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
120g butter, room temperature
Heat until blueberries have thawed and softened. Bring to a simmer and let cook (about 5 minutes) until thick and syrupy. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add cooled syrup and beat until combined. Toss through some fresh blueberries and serve alongside crumpets.