That time of year is upon us again, Shrove Tuesday, or as it is better known around the world, Pancake Day. Where we get to indulge in delightful sweet treats and have a legitimate excuse for it!
Actually, the tradition stems from eating all the rich foods, such as milk, butter and eggs before the fasting of Lent starts. The same as Mardi Gras or Carnival which is celebrated on the same day, both associated with giving up meat and other luxuries for Lent.
Back to pancakes, one other fun fact about Pancake Day is the tradition of the ‘Pancake Race’ which is said to have started in 1445 in Olney, Buckinghamshire in the UK. Contestants have to run 415 yards, flipping their pancake along the way. Since then the race has occurred every year, as it was a woman’s race the men who participate have to dress in drag.
I digress, Pancakes are a great meal either as a breakfast or as a snack or dessert. In our house growing up, this was the day that dinner was replaced by as many pancakes as we could eat!
We have two recipes that cover both ends of pancake day, enjoy!
If you are going to start your Shrove Tuesday with pancakes then these American style pancakes are the way to go. Full, fluffy and tasty, they take a little preparation, but they are worth it.
3 large eggs
115g plain flour
1 good teaspoon of baking powder
140ml milk (preferably full fat but semi-skimmed will do)
1 pinch of salt
½ a teaspoon of cinnamon
You will need 2 bowls, a whisk (electronic preferably), a large metal spoon, a frying pan and a spatula.
Start with the tricky bit, separate the yolks and whites of the eggs. To do this, break the egg gently and pour the egg between the two halves of the shell, letting the whites slowly drop into one of the bowls below. Place the yolks in another bowl. Alternatively, break the eggs into a bowl then use an empty plastic water bottle to suck up the yolks.
Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and milk to the yolks and mix it together until it is a smooth batter.
Then add the pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk them until they are stiff white peaks.
Suited Chef Tip – A metal bowl for the egg whites is best, it keeps them cold and makes them easier to whisk.
The trick is to be able to turn the bowl upside down and have the egg whites stay where they are. Then GENTLY fold the egg whites into the yolk batter, use a metal spoon if you can and add the mix in thirds. Once you have a lovely thick batter you are ready to cook.
Put the frying pan on a medium heat and add a small knob of butter, then add the batter. You can make your pancakes in any size you want, I usually use a healthy spoonful of the mixture and let it settle in the pan.
As the batter starts to colour at the bottom, you can add elements to the soft pancake top; blueberries, banana or chocolate chips, in fact anything that takes your fancy. Once these elements are in, it will be time to turn the pancakes. I try to get a large enough spatula that covers the bottom of the pancake to make the flipping easier.
Once flipped, wait until the top starts to colour, usually it is no more than 2 minutes each side.
Serve immediately to the salivating punters, with bacon and maple syrup!
This recipe, should serve 4 people, but I have found that it just serves 2 or 3 as the pancakes are so moreish, so double up. If you are making more, I like to keep the pancakes warm in the oven (on a minimal heat) on a metal tray lined with greaseproof paper.
This is for the thinner more traditional crepe style of thin pancake. The recipe below is enough for 2 people, about 3 pancakes each. If you have more guests, or are hungry, double the recipe!
150g plain flour
325ml milk (full fat or semi-skimmed)
1 pinch salt
25g melted unsalted butter
You will need a blender or whisk, a large non-stick frying pan, a spatula and a jug.
Now this one is really easy, place all the ingredients except the butter into a blender and whiz together. If you don’t have a blender then you have to whisk them together by hand, think of it as exercise to compensate for the pancakes.
Place the mix in a jug and, just before you cook, add the melted butter and mix through.
Suited Chef Tip: place the batter (without the melted butter) in the fridge for 20 minutes before making the pancakes.
Put the frying pan on a medium heat and wipe with either a little bit of butter or vegetable oil.
Once you have it heated up then pour some of the batter into the frying pan, it should just cover the frying pan in a thin layer. It might take you the first one to get the right amount.
It should cook undisturbed for between 30 seconds to a minute depending on your hob. Then flip the pancake, if you are a master you can attempt the spatula free flip, but I have never succeeded! It should slide down and then flip with the spatula. Once again cook on the other side for 30 seconds.
Continue till you have made all the batter. You can serve immediately or place on a warm plate till you are ready.
Accompaniment Suggestions: –
Savoury – cheese, ham, avocado, bacon and more
Sweet – lemon and sugar, cinnamon sugar, nutella, banana, ice cream, jam and more…
Once again, to keep the pancakes warm you can put them in a barely heated oven or on a warmed plate.
Enjoy your pancake feast!