Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Pyclets (pikelets) - a Childhood Memory

In 1864 Mr. Monk opened a Crumpet and Pyclet Bakery in Derby. He and his sons baked whilst the women sold them from a barrow situated beneath the large entrance archway leading to Derby's Market Hall.
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Interior of the Market Hall
As a child, trips into town with my mother, usually ended with us visiting Monk's barrow to buy pyclets or crumpets for tea. Sometimes she purchased their oatcakes too, which are large and flat like a pancake, then heated for breakfast with a topping of crispy bacon and an egg.
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Until she died in 1963, Emily Monk sold pyclets "every day bar high days and holidays". The baton was then passed to Rose (pictured) who continued the tradition until 1974. A combination of the Oil Crisis and the growing rise of supermarkets spelt a lack of interest from the younger members of the Monk family and Derby Pyclets passed into history.

 I was in our local Waitrose shop and to my delight discovered that pyclets (pikelets in the shop) have recently been resurrected.
Pyclets and crumpets are similar, both are made on a gridle, but traditionally pyclets are made using buttermilk, they are thinner, lighter and airy.  Crumpets are much thicker, equally tasty and good, but normally made using sourdough.
Pyclets like crumpets are eaten toasted then topped simply with butter; they can also have either a savoury or a sweet topping. A drizzle of honey, a spoonful of conserve, or even some lemon curd. A savoury topping could be marmite, stilton cheese with chopped walnuts or maybe a slice of smoked salmon accompanied by a spoonful of horseradish and dill cream. The connotations are endless, they are very versatile, but you can use whatever happens to take your fancy.

61 comments:

  1. Interesting history there Rosemary.
    Sometimes in our winter I buy crumpets put butter on them and Vegemite, doubt if you have tried that :)

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    1. Yes, I have tried Vegemite - it is very similar to Marmite.

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  2. Hello Rosemary, I think that I would prefer pikelets to crumpets--I tend to like things on the thin and crispy side. I will have to look for them if I ever get back to England, or perhaps can look up a recipe for the next time I return to Ohio, although I doubt that we could come up with anything acceptable or even recognizable to a native of England.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I am sure that you could make some quite easily - there are recipes on the internet - all you need is a non stick frying pan and some round metal cookie or pastry cutters.

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  3. The Market Hall is a stunning building, and a lovely spot to visit for pykelets, a charming spelling. I make pikelets from time to time, and we enjoy them just as you describe with honey, conserve or a squeeze of lemon. I imagine they will become popular once again if made according to the original recipe.

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    1. It is a wonderful piece of Victorian architecture, and has even been likened to the St. Pancras Station iron and glass roof in London.

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  4. Love that Market Hall and the pyclets you recovered.

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    1. Pyclets are delicious and not too high in calories either, which mades it a good treat.

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  5. What a fantastic old market place.  Funny how a long forgotten foods can bring back memories.  
    How nice you are now able to get pyclet's at your local shop. They don't look like they would be difficult to make from scratch.  I bet they would freeze well too.

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    1. I think that you are right Catherine - they are much easier to make than I thought they would be, and low in calories too.

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  6. Te market hall is wonderful! I've not heard of pyclets but they look remarkably like the pancakes/crumpets I make - just some butter and a sprinkling of sugar for me!

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    1. I think that I must try making some myself too.

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  7. Crumpets and pikelets, what charming names. Possibilities are endless and that is what makes them so appealing to me. In the past, when I have tried to copy a recipe it has never been that successful...my Mother explained that our baking flour is made from a different grain.
    Thank you for this tasty little reminder of good things from across the big pond.

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    1. These are great little snack items Gina, very satisfying and not too calorific either.

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  8. They look tasty, too bad the family is no longer in business.

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    1. I am pleased that another Derby family have taken up the reins again.

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  9. I love crumpets but this is the first I've ever heard of pyclets. They sound delicious too!

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    1. They are inexpensive and very satisfying.

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  10. I've just finished my breakfast, but find myself yearning for a hot buttered crumpet or pikelet to accompany the last of my tea. What a lovely building the market is in.

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    1. The ceiling is really grand for a Market Hall - the Victorians knew just how to go about building an interesting building.

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  11. At first glance they look like pancakes.

    The market hall is quite impressive!

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    1. They do resemble a pancake William, but the consistency is quite different.

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  12. Beauiful Victorian markethal! And then the story about pyclets and crumpets, I never heard of them and even the translater did not help me with the word pikelets or pyclets. On the picture they look like our 'three in the pan', little pancakes. But crumpets were easier to find and we have them too, especially for breakfast with butter and sugar.
    Regards, Janneke

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    1. If ever you travel back over here again Janneke, you must give them a try.

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  13. Pikelets are popular here in New Zealand (first time I had heard of them way back in 1965) The batter is similar to that of pancakes. Very yummy but different to the ones you write about.
    https://www.chelsea.co.nz/browse-recipes/pikelets

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    1. I had a look at the website and they look just like our Scotch Pancakes which are sweet rather than being able to take a savoury or a sweet topping.

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  14. Your post was timely. I have just obtained an appetizer cookbook and pikelets were the basis of several recipes. I had no idea what they were talking about. Pikelets look wonderful, the book, however is returning to the charity shop from whence it came. The recipes were ridicously complicated, time consuming and expensive.

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    1. Oh dear! that is a shame,however, I don't believe that pikelets themselves are very complicated to make.

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  15. It must have been wonderful to discover pikelets in Waitrose! I am only familiar with crumpets and we often ate them in winter on a Sunday afternoon covered in butter and marmite. You have made me hungry now! Sarah x

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    1. I think that I have made myself feel hungry now too, but unfortunately I don't have any left in the house. I think that I will ask my husband to call in at Waitrose tomorrow and replenish our supply.

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  16. It is a shame the way that so many traditional foods have gone. I hardly saw a single oatcake shop in North Staffs last time I went. You can buy Staffs oatcakes in our local Sainsburys, actually, (all the way from Staffordshire) although I don't think I have seen pikelets. I will look out for them, I don't think I've actually tried one.

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    1. Pikelets are a little bit more dainty than crumpets, take a look in Waitrose and try some.

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  17. Never heard of that first name before. I do remember making crumpets and pancakes when young then eating them hot with melting butter and jam. Home made ones were never as good somehow if they got cold as they turned rubbery quite quickly although supermarket ones still taste soft and ok without heating them up the next day. I noticed that with French bread on backpacking trips- by day three you could fell small trees with a baguette.(no preservatives allowed)

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    1. I have never actually eaten them untoasted, and they are fine to use after buying for several days.

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  18. Dear Rosemary,

    I enjoyed reading your post and I often used to make pikelets for morning tea if I had someone call around. Love them with some whipped cream and raspberry jam.
    I have a great recipe from my Mother.
    Hope you are enjoying the week
    hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. Dear Carolyn - I had another comment from NZ along with a website ref: and having looked found that the ones in NZ seem to resemble what we call Scotch Pancakes and are made using egg.
      Hope all is well with you.

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  19. I enjoyed hearing about your trips into Derby as a child where you could get pikelets from an old family bakery business. I like the photo of Rose Monk with her basket and 'pyclets' piled up ready for customers. The Market Hall is a beautiful building.

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    1. It was such a nostalgic moment for me when I saw the packets of pyclets in Waitrose

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  20. Such an interesting and historical piece, and they do look delicious. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for your comment Blogoratti and also for visiting.

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  21. I don't know this eating... but it looks delight.
    The first photo is fantastic.
    Hugs

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    1. Yes, Orvokki, crumpets and pyclets are very popular this house!

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  22. They look delicious, something like a pancake with holes.

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    1. The warm butter along with the toppings drop into the little holes making them very delicious to eat.

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  23. Hello, Rosemary! The architecture of the Market Hall is breathtaking. Pyclet, crumpet, marmite, all are new to me. The pyclet with melted butter on it looks mouth-watering.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - I think that you would probably like the crumpets or pyclets which you could top with anything that you fancied, but marmite is one of those things that people really love or hate!

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  24. Hm, look´s really good! Like pancakes or? Great pictures again from you...
    Have a happy weekend, take care!
    Love from Titti

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    1. I think that you would like them Titti - everyone that I know does.

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  25. I want to try these (both pikelets and crumpets) so bad - looks yum!! The next time we are in the UK, I'll have to check out the Waitrose shops. Which section of the shop did you find the pikelets? Cheers, Rosemary!
    L

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    1. Hi Loi - you find them in the section near the bread on the shelves where the scones, muffins and teacakes etc are.

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  26. Wow, I have never heard or tried a pikelet before. Love the story!
    Bea

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    1. Hello Bea - get your Mum to visit Waitrose and buy some, and I will have some here for you to try next time you visit.

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  27. We use to toast crumpets by the fire, I saw some Christmas tree shaped ones in a supermarket yesterday. I hadn’t been aware of the difference between the two before. I will look out for pikelets at our next WR visit.

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    1. My understanding is that pyclets were a Derby and surrounding area only product during the past.

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  28. We always had pikelets - now I know we we didn't - we just called crumpets by the wrong name.

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    1. There is not much difference between them apart from size and a slightly different taste.

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  29. Dearest Rosemary,
    Sad that this original company has become history; such special memories for you as a child.
    Yes, crumpets you can buy here in the USA as well and even mail order from Wolferman's: http://bit.ly/2zJa0o6
    Several years ago I used them for serving Brunch.
    Sending you hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - I looked at your website, and was surprised at just how expensive crumpets in the USA cost - 18 crumpets here would cost no more than £2 at the very most. I like them because they are sugar and salt free, have no fat, and make a very handy little snack.

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    2. Oh, all bread is very expensive here! ❤

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  30. I've never heard of pikelets before. I have heard of crumpets, but had never really seen one. I wonder which one is more like our English muffins that we have here. Thanks for sharing about pikelets, Rosemary.

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    1. Hello Jennifer - they are not really like a muffin but I am sure that you would enjoy them especially toasted and topped with a little butter.

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