I know there are crumpets for sale still in this country, I'm just not sure I have seen pikelets for some time. The good thing is they are really simple to make. They have a distinctively different texture to pancakes and should not be confused with them, they are more closely related to crumpets or even blini. Pikelet batter is thinner than crumpet batter, but both have to be thin enough to allow the bubbles to form characteristic tiny tunnels throughout. The tunnels increase the ability to saturate a frightening amount of melted butter! They were a tea time treat of my childhood and in those days they were toasted in front of a winter fire, but if they are made fresh they can be eaten directly from the griddle plate, buttered and spread with jam.This quantity makes between 70 and 80, but don't panic, they freeze very well.
For this recipe you will need;
150g of plain flour
200g of bread flour
250ml of buttermilk
350ml of warm water
1 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoons of sugar
1 sachet (7g) of fast action yeast
1 scant teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
1 tablespoon of milk
Begin by making a thick batter with the flour, buttermillk, water, salt, sugar and yeast. Whisk it together for a minute or two and set aside in a warm place for an hour or until the batter shows vigorous signs of growth. Heat up a large heavy based frying pan, or a large flat griddle iron on a low heat until hot, wipe the surface with a small amount of oil on a kitchen towel.
Mix the bicarbonate of soda into the milk and when it's fully dissolved stir into the batter. Test the batter by cooking a single pikelet. Using a small ladle pour a small amount of the batter onto the hot iron. Leave to cook until you see the surface bubbles form and pop, creating small holes. If this doesn't happen lightly whisk in a little more milk. The mistake people make with crumpets and pikelets is to have the batter too thick for the bubbles to travel to the top. Simply dilute it a little. Bake a batch, the pikelets will spread a little so allow for this. Either serve directly to hungry diners with lots of butter and jam, followed by a brisk 45 mile hike, or store once cooled in an airtight container, at a later date, toast lightly before serving. The pikelets will keep perfectly well for a couple of days in the fridge, but really it's worth making these when they are to be eaten as soon as they come off the hob.
It's better to heat up the griddle or heavy based pan on a low heat to avoid hot spots, if the pikelets are to be toasted at a later date, you can cook them for a little less time, avoiding over browning.
To make crumpets, simply reduce the water content by 50ml and cook on a flat griddle using well greased crumpet rings; pour the batter into the rings until they are nearly filled and wait until the surface is spotted with popped bubbles and has lost the shine of the wet batter, turn the rings using a large spatula and cook briefly on the other side.