Pancake Day – also known as Shrove Tuesday – is celebrated in February or March and precedes Ash Wednesday which is the start of Lent.
Dawn: More on the origins of Pancake Day in a bit…for now, let’s crack on with the recipe!
100g plain flour
1 egg, beaten
Splash of vegetable oil
Pinch of salt
Sugar and lemon juice (fresh or bottled) to serve
Lemon wedges (optional)
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour the egg in, beating well with a fork or balloon whisk until the mixture resembles a thick paste in appearance without lumps.
- Next, gradually add the milk, mixing into the ingredients to make a smooth batter.
Dawn: The batter now resembles white, frothy water and is relatively runny in appearance looking similar to a bubbling brook as it crashes against the rocky outcrops hurling itself ever forward…so it’s quite thin in consistency. But I digress!
There are two main types of batter used for puddings. One is pouring batter like this one for pancakes and the other is coating batter used for fritters which is thicker for deep-frying.
- Heat a little of the vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan, running the liquid around its surface until it is very hot. Any excess oil can be drained off into a cup for use later.
- Pour in just enough batter to create a thin coat on the base of the frying pan, tilting the frying pan to help the batter evenly cover the base. Cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown.
Dawn: To find out if the pancake is cooked, simply take a fish slice or palette knife and lift an edge of the pancake up; if the underside has turned golden brown it’s cooked that one side.
- Flip with a fish slice or toss in the air and cook the other side until it too has become golden brown.
Dawn: I can’t toss! I always turn my pancakes and carry on cooking them. No comments, please!
- Put the pancake on a plate and place a sheet of greaseproof paper on top of it, placing the plate on top of a saucepan of boiling water to help keep it warm. Repeat with the remaining batter and place a piece of greaseproof paper between each pancake.
- When finished making the pancakes, serve sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice.
Dawn: As a variation, if you’re using fresh lemons for the juice then you may wish to grate some of the rind and add it to the batter, stirring well before cooking.
The origins of Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday is centred upon Lent and Easter. Shrove is derived from the word “shrive” which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and doing penance. Many Christians including Anglicans, Methodists and Roman Catholics observe self-examination including any mis-doings with a view to repenting and look at what in their lives they need to seek God’s help with.
Pancake Day is usually in February or March and precedes Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent, being a period of forty days of fasting omissions and religious obligations that can include going without chocolate or cake, etc in recognition of a person’s sacrifice to mark their repentance.
In pagan times, before the Christian era, the most important part of the Shrovetide week was the making and eating pancakes which symbolised the hot sun, bringing forth its power, light and warmth to the Slavs (European ethno-linguistic peoples living throughout Europe, North and Central Asia). The first pancake was put out for the spirits of the ancestors and on the last day, some pancakes amongst other foods were burnt as a sacrifice to the pagan gods.
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