Hooray! It’s Pancake Tuesday tomorrow! The day when most of us won’t bother with dinner, but will have our pancakes instead! Why do we eat pancakes though? Well, the tradition goes back to
the days of yore when Shriven or Shrove Tuesday, now more popularly known as pancake day, was a reminder that Christians were entering penance. Shrove Tuesday fell the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent, the period of self-denial, 40 days of penance, praying and giving up luxuries and the good people used up the foods that they would not be allowed to eat during Lent, such as sugar, fat & eggs, hence the start of Pancake Tuesday or in some countries, Fat Tuesday ( or Mardi Gras in French)
Síucra who make our lovely Irish sugar, recently undertook a study and found that 12,000,000 pancakes will be eaten in Ireland on Pancake day, that’s an average of 2.5 pancakes each. About 70% of people will make it from scratch, but 20% will buy the batter (shame on you!, so easy to make!).
As we have become more of a global society, many other countries take on things have invariably seeped in. The American pancakes are much sweeter and fatter than what I had while growing up and I am glad to say the traditional pancake is still the most popular in this country.
There are tons of things you can put on your pancakes, depending on how sweet or savoury your tooth is. What I grew up with and which is still the way I eat them is with lemon and sugar. The recipe I’m sharing with you below is the traditional pancake, for me I prefer the good old lemon and sugar pancakes to the sweet toppings like honey, nutella, maple syrup etc. They’re the best!
125g/4oz cream plain flour
pinch of salt
½ pint of milk
butter or oil for frying
Sieve flour and salt into a bowl
make a well in the centre of the flour mix and break in the eggs
gradually add ½ the milk and stir, folding in the flour and beat well, adding more milk.
When you have a creamy consistency, your batter is ready. (At this stage, I put cling film on the bowl and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes, however you don’t have to do this step it won’t make a difference, I do it out of habit now, as I was told years ago this was what you do to give the starch time to work)
Heat up a frying pan, put a knob of butter or oil when hot, pour the batter, about ½ ladle, it will depend on the size of the pan you are using but it should be a thin coat of the batter in the frying pan, enough to cover the bottom and swirl the mixture around, it will only take about 30 seconds on each side.
When 30 seconds are up, flip over and cook the other side for 30 seconds. For the next pancake, wipe the pan with kitchen paper, put some fresh butter or oil, whichever you prefer and put another ½ ladle of mixture in.
Add your favourite toppings and enjoy!