It is soon to be that time of year again. With the bright lights and laughter of Christmas far behind us and the first flowers of spring yet to bloom, the long winter days seem to stretch before us unendingly.
Do not despair, however, for shining through the darkness, there is a beautiful, fantastical ray of light. A festival, a single day that stands proudly in amongst the many bleak winter days. This day is Pancake Day.
If you have never heard of Pancake Day, then let me introduce you to this wonderful, stomach-warming tradition.
This festival revolves entirely around the eating of just one food and yes, you’ve guessed it, that food is pancakes. However, these may not be pancakes, as you know them.
These are not the small, dense pancakes, featured on countless American TV shows, stacked into towers and drizzled with maple syrup. These pancakes are the size of dinner plates, very thin and made from just four ingredients; flour, butter, milk and salt.
These pancakes are far from boring, however, as the make a tasty, warm base for a range of exciting and delicious toppings. By far the most important and universally popular of these toppings is sugar and lemon.
To eat, you spoon a tablespoon of sugar into the centre of a freshly cooked pancake, squeeze over a dash of lemon, roll up and enjoy this delectable the sweet and sour treat.
Other popular toppings include Nutella, fruit and honey. Pancakes also go well with savoury toppings, with cheese and ham being a particularly beloved choice.
At this point you may be wondering, why it is that on one random day, we eat copious amounts of pancakes. Well, like with many traditional British festivals, the day has Christian roots.
The other, more correct, name for Pancake Day is Shrove Tuesday and it always falls exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday. On Easter Sunday, Christians remember the death and return to life of Jesus Christ. The date of Easter Sunday, and therefore Shrove Tuesday, changes every year depending on the cycles of the moon.
This year, Shrove Tuesday will be celebrated on the 25th of February.
The day after Shrove Tuesday is known as Ash Wednesday and is the first day of Lent.
Lent is a period of fasting that continues until Easter Sunday. Traditionally, Christians would not eat meat, fats, fish or eggs for the entire period.
Pancake Day, therefore, emerged as a way to use up all of the fats in the house before this period of fast. Nowadays, few people observe the full fast and many people choose instead to give up just one food during the period of lent such as chocolate.
Nevertheless, Pancake Day has remained a popular tradition, especially, as you can probably imagine, among children.
So, now that you know all about this fun-filled delicious tradition, you may be wondering how to make this fantastic food for yourself. Read on to discover a great recipe for classic Pancake Day pancakes.
A simple recipe
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 – 8 minutes
120g of plain flour
200 ml of milk
Pinch of salt
Butter, for frying
1 large mixing bowl
1 wooden spoon
1 frying pan
1 spatula (optional)
- Mix the salt and flour in the mixing bowl
- Make a small well in the middle of the mixture, crack in the eggs and pour in the milk.
- Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it is smooth.
- Allow the mixture to stand for 30 minutes.
- Heat a frying pan until very hot, then add a small amount of butter.
- Add a ladle of mixture to the pan and cook for 30 seconds.
- To flip, either use the spatula or, holding the handle of the pan, flip the pancake in the air.
- Cook the pancake on the other side for 30 seconds. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
- Add your chosen toppings.
despair – the feelings of having lost all hope
delectable – extremely pleasant to taste, smell or look at
savoury – tasting of salt; not sweet
fast – to eat little or no food for a period of time, especially for religious or medical reasons