Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)
Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Tuesday and Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent.
On Pancake Day, “pancake races” are held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom. The pancake race remains a relatively common festive tradition in the UK. Participants with frying pans race through the streets tossing pancakes into the air and catching them in the pan whilst running.
The most famous pancake race is held at Olney in Buckinghamshire where it originally began in 1445. The tradition is said to have originated when a housewife from Olney was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake.
Below is my simple Pancake recipe.
100g plain flour
300ml semi-skimmed milk
40g unsalted butter
Oil for frying
Pinch of salt
*salted butter is fine to use. Just leave out the pinch of salt.
Put the flour and a pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the middle, then pour in about 50ml milk. Start whisking from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the eggs and milk. Once all the flour is mixed in, keep mixing until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it starts to get too stiff to beat.
After, while still whisking, pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk. (wrap a damp cloth under the base of the bowl to stop it from moving around) Continue pouring and whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream. Traditionally, would now leave the batter for 30 mins, to allow the starch in the flour to swell, but there’s no need. You want to get cooking I bet.
Heat the pan over a moderate heat, then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper. Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin and even layer. Return the pan to the heat, then leave to cook, for about 30 secs.If the pan is the right temperature, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 30 secs and will be ready to turn.
Hold the pan handle, ease a fish slice under the pancake, then quickly lift and flip it over. Make sure the pancake is lying flat against the base of the pan with no folds, then cook for another 30 secs before turning out onto a warm plate. Continue with the rest of the batter mix, serving them as you cook or stack onto a plate. You can freeze the pancakes for 1 month, wrapped in cling film or make them up to a day ahead.
Sweet or savoury?
I like my pancakes sweet and savoury. I have my breakfast pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup. Another savoury option of mine would be spinach and cheddar cheese. My sweet choice would be with a good helping of Nutella along with slices of banana.
Let me know how you like eating your pancakes?
Happy pancake day everyone.