What is Shrove Tuesday?
The word “shrove” comes from the old English word “shrive” which means to confess your sins. Lent is a time of reflection and preparation observed by Christians in the 46 days leading up to Easter. Typically, Christians would confess their sins on the day before lent began (Ash Wednesday), which is how we now have Shrove Tuesday. Because it’s observed on the day before lent starts, Shrove Tuesday is observed on a different day each year. Ash Wednesday is called so as it is observed by a priest placing ashes on the forehead of Christians on the first day of lent.
Why do we eat pancakes?
Lent is the time that many Christians give up rich foods such as dairy and meat. As lent lasts 46 days and there weren’t any refrigerators in Ye Olde England, it was customary to use up all the fattening ingredients that wouldn’t last until lent was over. What’s the simplest way to use up eggs and milk? Add some flour and you’ve got yourself some pancakes! So yes, Pancake Day was born from the desire to not waste food. Pancakes are such a simple and versatile food that can be made sweet or savoury, flat or fluffy.
Did you know that “Mardi Gras” is French for “Fat Tuesday”?
Not only do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, but it’s a British tradition to race pancakes! Legend has it that this tradition originated back in 1445 when a woman in Olney, England was so busy making pancakes that she lost track of time. When she heard the church bells ringing for Shrove Tuesday mass she ran as fast as she could to the church still wearing her apron and clutching her pan with a pancake. The world famous Olney Pancake Race takes place every year, with local housewives competing wearing an apron and a hat or scarf.
Is it any surprise that the celebrations that call the start and end of lent involve indulgent foods? Enjoying pancakes on Shrove Tuesday with a topping of your choice before 46 days of abstaining from such indulgences, to celebrating the end of lent with a chocolate filled feast at Easter. Whether you do choose to give up anything for lent, or you just like eating breakfast foods for every meal, Pancake Day is a day we can all enjoy.
It’s super simple to make pancakes. Just remember, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
You’ll need the following:
- 100g plain flour
- 2 Large eggs
- 300mL milk
- Topping of your choice
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Pancakes
- Large mixing bowl
- Pancake or fry pan
- 100 g Plain Flour
- 2 Eggs
- 300 ml Milk
- Sieve 100g plain flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Make a well in the centre and crack 2 eggs into the middle. Tip: crack eggs into a glass first to avoid getting any shell in the mixture, then pour the eggs from the glass into the flour mixture.
- Slowly whisk 300ml milk into the flour/egg mixture until combined. Don't add it too quickly or it'll clump. Slow and steady means you'll end up with a nice smooth batter, about the consistency of slightly thick single cream.
- Heat your pan over a low-moderate heat. You don’t want a hot pan or you pancake will burn! I use a cast iron pan and highly recommend getting one if you don’t already. Non-stick pans work, but a cast iron pan will last much longer and will never stick provided you take care of it.
- Melt a small nob of butter in your preheated pan. Use a ladle or measuring cup to ladle some batter into your pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around the pan in a thin, even layer.
- Leave to cook for about 30 seconds or until the batter starts to come away from the sides. Then carefully flip your pancake and cook for a further 30 seconds until both sides are golden. Use an egg flip or palette knife to flip, or if you’re feeling fancy just toss it! (The latter is a somewhat messier option…)
- Serve with your favourite topping and enjoy!