Located in the heart of London’s Mayfair district, the Chesterfield (35 Charles Street) was once the home of the Earl of Chesterfield. The hotel still retains the charm and character of a bygone era and in its airy Conservatory, guests can choose from four distinctive afternoon teas—Devonshire, Champagne, Traditional, or Chocolate. Crumpets (adapted here) and scones follow the sandwich course and are served warm with lots of butter and jam or preserves.
1/2 cup water, heated to 110°F
2 teaspoons sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed
Butter, at room temperature
Strawberry or raspberry jam for serving
1 In a large bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until foamy. Stir in the flour, salt, baking soda, and milk. Cover and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture has risen.
2 Butter a large nonstick skillet and place it over low heat. Generously butter crumpet rings or 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutters. Place the rings in the skillet and fill each halfway with batter. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, or until small holes appear and the top has started to dry. Remove the rings, turn the crumpets over, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm or toasted with butter and jam.
Makes about 12 crumpets
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Excerpted from Tea and Crumpets by Margaret Johnson. Copyright 2009 by Chronicle Books. Excerpted with permission by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.