Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins. Historically, people used up their milk and eggs by making pancakes, in preparation for the dietary restrictions of Lent. For the Americans reading, it’s not just a Catholic thing, our shops in the UK are full of displays of eggs, milk, flour, golden syrup, sugar and lemon juice around this time of year. Admittedly, Shrove Tuesday is usually in February.
British pancakes are like thick crepes, are light and filling and very easy to make. The modern traditional fillings are lemon juice and sugar or golden syrup.
Here’s my recipe –
Measure 1/2 UK pint (10 fl oz) (250ml) milk into a large measuring jug. Add 1 egg and beat. Add 4 oz (3/4 cup) (100g) plain/all purpose flour and beat with a fork vigorously until well blended.
Cover and put in fridge or stand in a cool place for at least 10 minutes. The batter can be kept for up to 2 days before using. I keep mine in a jam jar in the fridge.
This will make you 5 or 6 pancakes, depending on how thick you pour the batter when you cook them. This is a good number for 2 people for breakfast. They are more filling than you might expect. You can up the quantities to suit the number of people you are feeding.
When you are ready to cook, assemble all interested pancake eating parties around the table. Pancakes do not wait for late comers. Get the plates out, get the knives and forks out, get out everything you are going to eat with your pancakes and put on the table. Nominate an adult to keep any children or badly behaved adults away from the person doing the cooking. Smoking fat doesn’t agree with distractions.
So, you’re ready (not as bad as it sounds, honest!). Pour a little oil into a good solid frying pan and heat until smoking. Pour a small amount of the batter into the pan and swirl it around. After a minute or so, it will be done, and nudge a fish slice under the pancake and flip. After 30 seconds, this side will be golden brown as well. Slide the first pancake onto a plate, get someone else to serve it to the first waiting party and the pancake production has begun.
Keep cooking and flipping until all parties are full and you’ve cooked enough for yourself as well. After the first few pancakes, they will take only 10-15 seconds to cook. You really need your eye on the ball. Keep a damp tea towel handy to throw over the pan just in case of fire (after turning off the heat of course).
Finally, for the kidlets, here’s the Pancake Song from Maid Marion and her Merry Men.