Across the world there are many events to mark the season of Lent which starts on February 18; New Orleans has Mardi Gras, Rio has its Carnival and to rival this glamour and excitement in Britain and Ireland we have Pancake Tuesday.
I have often wondered what connects making pancakes to Lent and have conducted some careful research to wonder no more, basically I typed ‘Pancake Tuesday’ into Google.
Pancake or Shrove Tuesday as it is also known dates back to the fifteenth century and is the prequel to the start of Lent – the Christian season of fasting and abstinence before Easter.
On Shrove Tuesday pancakes were made to use up supplies of dairy products including milk, butter and eggs which were considered rich and indulgent commodities and forbidden during Lent.
Now that we have some historical context to the custom of eating pancakes in the mouth of Easter, let us honour this ancient tradition and make some pancakes.
My recipe is for Scotch pancakes, a real life version of those you find packaged in the supermarket bread aisle and are thicker and denser than the French crepe, I served these hot from the pan with butter and homemade lemon curd jam.
Scotch Pancakes – mixture makes 8
- 200 grams of plain flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- ½ pint of milk
- 1 large egg
- Vegetable oil
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and beat the egg separately.
- Add the egg and milk into the dry ingredients and whisk quickly to form a batter.
- Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan.
- Once hot, add a soup ladle of the batter to the pan. Hold the ladle quite close to the surface of the pan and allow the batter to drop and form a circle – you should be able two cook two pancakes at a time.
- If the pan is hot enough the underside of the pancakes will cook quite quickly and when bubbles start to form flip them over, fry for roughly one to two minutes on each side.
- Have your oven turned on at a low heat to keep the pancakes warm while you cook the rest of the batch.
- Serve with your favourite jams, syrups or simply butter.
- If you do not want to use all of the batter in one go, cover the bowl with cling film and keep in the fridge for one to two days.