MUCH better than shop bought crumpets, these are easy to make and are a rewarding and comforting meal for breakfast, tea or supper. Crumpets, pikelets, Scotch pancakes and English muffins: all traditional British tea-time treats but what's the difference? That's a good question! They're all cooked on a griddle or bakestone (a heavy-based frying-pan can be used as an alternative) but crumpets and muffins are both yeast-based. To make crumpets, you need egg rings (available from kitchen or hardware shops) or, if you can get them, special crumpet rings, and they need to be well-greased. More about crumpets: crumpets are flattened round breads which are cooked on a griddle or in a skillet. They are closely associated with English society and culture, and are sometimes confused with English muffins. Although the crumpet and the English muffin share some characteristics, the two foods are in fact very different. Classic crumpets have a smooth round bottom, and a top riddled with small holes. They are served fresh from the griddle or toasted, and can be topped with cheese, bacon, honey, jam or clotted cream - although butter is the traditional crumpet topping. Crumpets are never split, unlike English muffins, and they have a slightly spongy texture which absorbs butter remarkably well. The concept of toasting crumpets over a fire is often associated with companionable rainy days in British fiction. For people who are still confused about the differences between crumpets and English muffins, remember that crumpets have a holey top, they are not split, and they are far less "bready" than English muffins tend to be. It is believed that the English muffin may have been invented by someone who was trying to replicate the crumpet, which explains the commonalities between the two. The recipes for English muffins and crumpets are also very different, with crumpets being made from batter and English muffins being made from a dough. Because crumpets are made from a batter, they must be cooked in metal rings called crumpet rings or they will lose their shape.