In preparation of Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday, which falls on March 1st, I thought I’d practice making ‘pancakes’. Yup, hubby loves ‘his’ pancakes … and I’ve never made them. For me, pancakes should be thick, fluffy, even cake-like, stacked on top of each other. But in the U.K., pancakes never seem to get ‘stacked’. They’re more like a French crepe … thin, folded over and served with a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Lemon juice? Where’s the maple syrup and pats of butter?
So, why pancakes and why on this particular Tuesday? In Christianity, Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday was a national holiday and a time for celebration in Great Britain. This day before Lent is a time of penance and renewal when Christians begin 40 days of fasting. Rich, fatty foods such as meat and fish, sugar, eggs and dairy were prohibited during these 40 days. Pancakes were created to use up the ingredients that might go bad during this time, and were eaten the day before the beginning of the fast.
Although I love thick, fluffy American pancakes (whether its buttermilk or chocolate chip, blueberry and even cranberry walnut), I feel compelled to make some British pancakes for Tuesday. British pancakes are a tiny bit thicker than crepes, other than that, I’d be hard-pressed to notice a difference. So, here I go … trying different recipes to come up with the best I can find. And serving them with LEMON JUICE!
Makes 8 to 10 pancakes.
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt|
2 large eggs
2-1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons butter, melted, for the batter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for the pan
In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs. Beat the eggs in with half the milk, until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
Add the rest of the milk and melted butter and beat well, until you have a smooth batter. Leave the batter to rest for at least 15 minutes or longer, (overnight, if you want to make this the night before).
Lightly grease a non-stick frypan with vegetable oil. Heat the pan until hot, but not smoking. You don’t want to burn the oil. Add a ladle of batter and swirl the batter around to evenly and thinly coat the base of the pan. Cook until set and lightly golden around the edges. With a spatula, carefully flip the pancake over and cook the other side for approximately 30 seconds.
Slide the pancake onto a plate and cover the plate with a towel to keep warm. Continue making the pancakes until all the batter is used up. I was able to make 12 good sized pancakes/crepes.
To serve, I dusted on the powered sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice . . . folded the ‘pancake’ in half and then folded it over again . . . with another dusting of powdered sugar. Honestly, they were delicious!! But were they pancakes?
Happy Pancake Day!!