Victoria’s Favorite Pikelets

Victoria's Favorite Pikelets - Old Fashioned Recipe for Edwardian Tea-Time Pancakes from Sharon Biggs Waller on The History Kitchen

History Kitchen contributor Sharon Biggs Waller just released a terrific historical novel called A Mad, Wicked Folly! Here she shares a historical Edwardian recipe that appears in the book.

“I decided to go into the kitchen and snaffle some of our cook’s pikelets. I loved them, and Mrs. Kipling always made them up for afternoon tea.”

- A Mad, Wicked Folly (Viking) by Sharon Biggs Waller.

I first encountered the pikelet when I lived in England. I was watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s TV show Treats from the Edwardian Country House, which highlighted goods from the Edwardian era.  In the show, Hugh was making the pikelet, a type of pancake enjoyed at teatime. As a writer I loved the word, but I also loved the simplicity of this teacake compared to the other complicated Edwardian recipes such as the elaborate ice cream molds, called bombes, and the molded gelatins, called jellies.  Right then I knew that my main character in A Mad, Wicked Folly, Victoria Darling, would adore pikelets. I loved them too, and so I included the recipe in my author’s notes at the back of the book.

Some would say the crumpet and pikelet are the same, especially those from the north of England.  But traditionally, crumpets are cooked in a ring, which prevents them from spreading out, so they are thicker.  Because pikelets spread out and are thinner, they tend to be crispy on the edges.

According to Merriam-Webster, the origin of the word pikelet stems from the Welsh bara pyglyd or pitchy bread, which was a dark, sticky bread.  The word spread north into England and was anglicanized to pikelet.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe calls for fresh yeast (or dried yeast) and cream of tartar, but the self-rising flour in the following recipe simplifies and quickens the process.

Victoria's Favorite Pikelets - Old Fashioned Recipe for Edwardian Tea-Time Pancakes from Sharon Biggs Waller on The History Kitchen

Victoria's Favorite Pikelets

Ingredients

  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk, or more if needed

You will also need

  • Sifter, medium mixing bowl, frying pan or griddle
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Servings: About 1 dozen pikelets
  • Sift the flour into a medium bowl and stir in the sugar.
  • Victoria's Favorite Pikelets - Old Fashioned Recipe for Edwardian Tea-Time Pancakes from Sharon Biggs Waller on The History KitchenMake a well in the center of the dry ingredients and crack in the egg.
  • Victoria's Favorite Pikelets - Old Fashioned Recipe for Edwardian Tea-Time Pancakes from Sharon Biggs Waller on The History KitchenStir while pouring in the milk slowly until the batter comes together. Add more milk if you want thinner pikelets. (THK Note: We added an extra 1/4 cup of milk here) Stir in butter.
  • Victoria's Favorite Pikelets - Old Fashioned Recipe for Edwardian Tea-Time Pancakes from Sharon Biggs Waller on The History KitchenHeat a griddle or skillet over medium heat, and coat with a small amount of cooking oil or spray. Drop a large spoonful of the batter onto the hot skillet. Flip when bubbles appear.
  • Victoria's Favorite Pikelets - Old Fashioned Recipe for Edwardian Tea-Time Pancakes from Sharon Biggs Waller on The History KitchenCook until browned on both sides. Serve warm pikelets with butter, honey or jam. Stored in a plastic bag, they will keep for up to three days. Best rewarmed before serving.
  • Victoria's Favorite Pikelets - Old Fashioned Recipe for Edwardian Tea-Time Pancakes from Sharon Biggs Waller on The History Kitchen

Victoria's Favorite Pikelets - Old Fashioned Recipe for Edwardian Tea-Time Pancakes from Sharon Biggs Waller on The History Kitchen

Learn more about “A Mad, Wicked Folly” here!

About Sharon Biggs Waller

Sharon Biggs Waller writes about historical and vintage cooking techniques for The History Kitchen. She is a historical young adult novelist and freelance magazine writer for Urban Farm, Hobby Farms, Hobby Farm Home, and Chickens. Viking/Penguin will release her debut historical novel, A Mad, Wicked Folly, in 2014. Read more...

Comments (53)Post a Comment

  1. OMG, soooo good! Especially in the North of England (in the south these are called crumpets), smothered in butter — just when you come in from a cold, wet walk. This is a memory I have from 32 years ago when I met my English in-laws. Especially good toasted on the end of a long fork over the fire!

    1. Both yeast risen. I don’t know about the use of the ring — I would have said that the pikelets we purchased in the bakeries were pretty much identical. Anyway, the texture was much different from pancakes, which are baking powder risen.

    1. Hi Nancy, Pikelets are a bit thicker and chewier. A lot of teacakes/breakfast cakes fall under the category of pancakes. For instance, crepes are just a thin version of a pancake. In fact, in England crepes are called pancakes. It’s all confusing but basically it’s all delicious!

  2. They look like those english crumpets? Once when I was 10 the local dept store now its Macys it was Kaufmans, had a salute to England and at this little coffee shop had tea and crumpets which my mother always wanted to try! Boy! They were tasty w raspberry jam and butter! Reminded me of an english muffin only more cakeier

  3. These look and sound really delish ! Gotta question, please forgive me is it sounds silly…Um, are these considered finger food or are they to be eaten like regular American pancakes with a fork and knife ??

  4. These pikelets are true comfort food after a brisk outdoor walk on a chilly afternoon. Scrummy with lashings of butter and a dollop of delicious jam together with a steaming mug of strong milky tea.

  5. HI all. Thanks for all the comments about the pikelets. Just like with other food, there are many different kinds of recipes and many different versions. There are as many pikelet recipes with yeast as without yeast. Because my book is a young adult novel, I wanted to choose the easier recipe for my young readers. As I mentioned in my post, this is the quicker recipe. It is still, however, a pikelet. : )

    1. I love your version Sharon Biggs Waller! And I give it a big thumbs up on taste. I enjoyed them immensely, especially topped with fresh raspberry preserves!

  6. I call these, as did my Mum and Granny, Scotch pancakes, not heard them called Pikelets before:) Crumpets are made with yeast and have little holes in them and as you say are cooked in a ring and are quite crispy.

  7. English Crumpets are completely different. Made with yeast cooked in a ring and then toasted and served with butter, they are crispy and full of holes for the butter to seep into, yum :) funny how all the “English speaking” countries call them all different things.

  8. You’ll have to fight a Brit about that one, Michael. There’s even a holiday called Pancake Day. And they are definitely crepes! I lived in England for six years and my husband is British. I tried to make American pancakes on that day and got some funny looks. Also, the Brits eat American style pancakes for desert. : )

  9. Looks amazing! My gran used to make me a version this when I was a kid. She learned it from her gran and we’re Asian so somewhere along the way there must have been another name. :)

  10. Pikelets and crumpets are a different texture since crumpets have yeast and are raised. Pikelets are more like pancakes and crumpets are thicker and chewier like bread. Pikelets are sometimes called drop scones in the Midlands and North. In Staffordshire we had the Staffordshire oatcake ( only found near Stoke-on-Trent ) which was another delicious meal, traditionally served with bacon, cheese, tomato. The oatcake maker would sell pikelets too which had raisins- they were served toasted with butter.

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