Published on March 5th, 2011 | by Gareth6
For the first time since leaving Britain (many years ago) I will be celebrating Shrove Tuesday next week (8th March). This is the last day before the start of Lent (Ash Wednesday) a traditional Christian fasting period. In the UK Shrove Tuesday is often referred to as Pancake Day a day when foods such as fat, eggs, milk and sugar are eaten (because they were restricted during the fasting during Lent. Hence why the French call it Mardi Gras – fat Tuesday.
Although I was not brought up a strict practising Christian we used to look forward to Pancake Day as kids. My mum would make us pancakes for our afters (dessert for those not familiar with Brit speak) or sometimes breakfast but only on Pancake Day – I think my record as a kid was 4 in one sitting.
British pancakes tend to be much lighter and thinner than the ones commonly served in America. In fact they are similar to crepes, except we use plain flour, the French use buckwheat flour. And unlike our American cousins who are fond of smothering them with maple syrup, in Britain they are served with caster sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
A wonderful citrus aroma is released as the lemon juice evaporates when poured on the hot pancake. This combined with the taste of the sugary zesty syrup as the lemon juice and sugar mix is seriously comforting and very hard to resist. A fast and simple blend of sweet and sharp, tastes fantastic so get out the frying pan next Tuesday!
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Ingredients (Makes 3-4 depending on how big your pan is)
- Pancake batter
- 110g plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 250ml milk
- Pinch salt
- 50g butter
- Fresh lemons
- Caster sugar
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the middle of the flour.
- Crack both eggs into the well together with half of the milk and whisk (by hand is fine) until you have a smooth batter.
- Add the remaining milk and whisk together.
- Cover and pop in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to allow the batter to rest.
- When the batter is ready, heat the frying pan over a moderate heat and melt the butter. Make sure you evenly coat the bottom and edges of the hot pan with the melted butter to prevent sticking.
- Use a ladle to spoon 1 ladle full (about 5 tablespoons) of the batter mixture into the hot pan.
- Tilt the pan to swirl the mix evenly across the surface of the pan (remember the trick is to make a uniformly thin pancake.
- After about 1- 2 minutes use a spatula to lift the edges of the pancake, it should be turning golden. ‘Jiggle’ (technical term) the pan until the pancakes slides about freely.
- In one swift move using a scooping motion toss the pancake so the pancake flips over and cooks the other side for 1-2 minutes. If it begins to smoke reduce the heat a little.
- Lay flat on a plate, sprinkle with caster sugar and squeeze with fresh lemon juice. Roll or fold and serve hot.
- Alternative serving suggestions include:
- Baked beans with diced bacon – might sound horrible but makes for a great snack.
- Once flipped add thinly sliced ham and a cracked egg, allow the egg to cook on the pancake surface, fold and serve.
- Ice cream.
- Strawberry jam or my wife’s all time favourite, Nutella!