Yesterday was Pancake Day for our family. I’ve had a lot of questions about what Pancake Day is so I thought I’d give you a little lesson in English Tradition
One of my favorite things about our little family is raising our kids in a multi-cultural way. Gracen is starting to get old enough to understand that I am from a different country, and he tells people he’s “half-English” haha! Pancake Day is one of those traditions that I remember being so excited about as a little kid, it was something that was consistent every year. I even remember a couple of years that we forgot to have pancakes for breakfast and I was so disappointed when I got to school and realized that everyone else had celebrated that morning – and then there were the times that they would do a pancake making demonstration at school to teach us about Pancake Day…this is a big deal people!
So…what is Pancake Day?
Pancake Day is the last day before the period which Christians call Lent, it is also known as Shrove Tuesday. It is a tradition on this day to eat pancakes.
When is Pancake Day?
Shrove Tuesday is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday and is therefore the final day before the commencement of Lent, a Christian festival leading up to Easter Sunday.
Why are Pancakes eaten on Shrove Tuesday?
Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren’t allowed in Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent. The date varies from year to year and falls between 3 February and 9 March.
What is an English Pancake?
A pancake is a thin, flat cake, made of batter and fried in a pan. It is a lot similar to a crepe. It is usually spread with filling and rolled up.
What are typical fillings?
The most common filling for English Pancakes is Caster sugar sprinkled over the top and a dash of fresh lemon juice added – in France this is called “Crepe Suzette”. Another popular choice is Nutella, chocolate chips and even whipped cream. Golden syrup or jam are another choice.
Pancakes are actually a great breakfast for any day – super quick and easy to make. Here is the recipe:
1/2 c. plain flour
pinch of salt
6 fl oz milk mixed
4 T. butter
Next gradually add small quantities of the milk, still whisking (don’t worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk). When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any elusive bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth. Now melt the butter in a pan. Spoon 2T of it into the batter and whisk it in, then pour the rest into a bowl and use it in small quantities to coat the pan.
Now get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and, to start with, do a test pancake to see if you’re using the correct amount of batter, I find 3T is about right. It’s also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, roll it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter.
It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it’s tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over with a pan slice or palette knife – the other side will need a minute – then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate. Before putting more batter in the pan add about 1t of the melted butter to the pan.
Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper or paper towels on a plate to keep them warm while you make the rest.