Pancake Day 2018 and why we celebrate on Shrove Tuesday

Pancake Day with perfectly cooked pancakes

Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday is celebrated by eating pancakes.

We often look forward to the tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday without giving much thought to why we celebrate in this way.

Shrove Tuesday is a day in February or March preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  It always falls 47 days before Easter so the date moves each year but it will always be between 3 February and 9 March.

The name Shrove Tuesday comes from ‘shrive’, meaning absolution for sins by doing penance and it is suggested that pancake day became a way of using up rich foods like eggs, milk and sugar before the 40 days of fasting for Lent.

For most of us it is an excuse to eat pancakes and test our pancake flipping skills in the kitchen.

If you want to cook up a batch, here’s our basic pancake recipe for traditional pancakes served with lemon and sugar.

Perfect Pancake Day Recipe

Ingredients

  • 110g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk with a splash (75ml) water
  • 50g butter
  • Caster sugar, lemon juice or lemon wedges to serve

Pancake Day with freshly cooked pancakes

Method

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it and whisk them in. A balloon whisk is perfect to use.  Make sure you mix in all the flour from around the edge of the bowl.
  2. Gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture continuing to whisk. Any lumps will disappear as you whisk.  Once the batter is smooth and the consistency of thin cream you are ready to cook.
  3. Melt the butter. Spoon two tablespoons of butter into the batter and whisk it in. Pour the remaining butter into a bowl and use it to oil the pan.  Use a basting brush or scrunched up kitchen paper to wipe the frying pan before you make each pancake.
  4. Get the pan very hot then turn the heat down a little. Cook the first pancake using a ladle to pour the batter into the frying pan.  You’ll be able to work out how much batter to use for the remaining pancakes. Tip the frying pan from side to side so the base is evenly coated.  Pancakes cook quite quickly so when you see bubbles forming on the top, use a palette knife to gently life the edge of the pancake.  If it is slightly browned, it is ready to flip over and cook the other side.  The daring can flip in the air otherwise flip with a pan slice! Slide the pancake out of the frying pan.
  5. You can stack the pancakes on plate covering with a clean cloth if eating immediately or pile them between sheets of grease-proof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water to keep them warm while you make the rest.
  6. To serve, sprinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster sugar, roll up and enjoy.

How do you eat yours? Served with orange instead of lemons, dripping in golden syrup or healthy with raspberries and yogurt?