The forty days before Easter (not counting Sundays) is known as Lent. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first of day of Lent. Traditionally, families would use up their luxury foods like milk, sugar, eggs and butter, before the 40 days of fasting began. The word shrove comes from the ritual of shriving. People would go to church and confess their sins to a priest, who would grant them absolution. The shriven individual would then be in a pure state, ready for the Lenten period of fasting and abstinence.
Did you know Shrove Tuesday – or Pancake Tuesday – is known as Fasnacht in Germany (night of the fast) In Italy it is called Carnivale (from the Latin for ‘goodbye to the flesh’) and Mardi Gras (literally ‘Fat Tuesday’) is celebrated in places as diverse as New Orleans, Brazil and Australia.
Now down to business… My pancakes are thin like crêpe and are very versatile.
4ozs plain flour
½ pint (10 fl ozs) milk
Blend all the ingredients together to make a smooth batter, which should be the consistency of double cream & leave to stand for at least 1 hour.This lets the batter relax and the starch molecules have time to expand.
Melt a little butter or oil in a hot frying/omelette pan then put 2 tablespoons of the mixture on the pan and roll it about to cover the surface. Cook the pancakes until bubbles appear on the surface, if you don’t want to toss your pancakes, just slip a plate over the pan and upend the pan quickly over the plate. Slide the pancake back in the pan to brown the uncooked side. Ideally the pan should be non stick.
When Elly was little I prepared the mixture and left it to stand overnight then we had pancakes for breakfast.
Good things to put on Pancakes
- Traditionalists sprinkle lemon juice and sugar before rolling them into a tube shape.
- For a change why not try one of the following: golden syrup, cinnamon, maple syrup, jam, fruit, yoghurt or even Ice cream.
Now on the savoury side the opportunities are endless:
- Grilled bacon & maple syrup
- Cheese, ham and mushroom
- Cream cheese and spinach.
- Tomato Salsa
- Bacon & Mushroom in a cheese sauce – when filled place the pancakes in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with brown breadcrumbs and grated cheese pop under a heated grill for 5/6 minutes.Serve with a salad.
What is your favourite way to indulge in pancake fever?