In the Christian tradition today is Shrove Tuesday. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of the six week period of Lent, which leads up to Easter. For many people that means fasting, or at the very least giving up some of life’s little luxuries. Where some countries mark the occasion with Mardi Gras and others have Carnival, here in the UK it’s Pancake Day. You can’t say we don’t know how to have fun!
Pancakes were historically made on Shrove Tuesday to clear out the cupboards before Lent. The richer ingredients in the kitchen like butter, eggs, milk and sugar, had to go. You know, all of the good stuff. We’re not religious and certainly won’t be fasting, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to miss out on the fun.
Speaking of fun, I look back on many a fond memory of pancake day as a child. Normal service would be put on hold and epic amounts of pancake batter made in place of a proper evening meal. We’d all take turns making our own, then covering them in lemon juice and sugar. There would be the inevitable attempts to toss them successfully. Along with the subsequent failures and need to scrape them off of the hob. Or the wall. Or the floor.
The good news is that a few mistakes don’t matter. Indeed, pancakes should look homemade and be a bit rough around the edges. Plus, as they’re made from what are now basic ingredients it doesn’t matter if you have a little bit of waste along the way.
Speaking of basic… I don’t know about you but there are certain recipes that you just know off by heart. You don’t need to refer back to them as they’re pretty much foolproof. This recipe for Pancakes happens to be one of those, as all you need to remember is 1-2-3.
- 100g Flour
- 2 Eggs
- 300ml Milk
Plus a little pinch of salt. They really are that simple and can be used in so many other recipes. The only limit is your imagination.
- 100 g Plain Flour
- 2 Large Free-Range Eggs
- 300 ml Semi-skimmed Milk
- 1 pinch Salt
- Put the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs and a splash of the milk. Mix the flour into the eggs, working out from the centre, until everything is combined as a smooth thick paste.
- Add another splash of milk and mix well to loosen the batter, then continue to whisk whilst steadily pouring in the remaining milk. You should get a smooth, runny batter.
- Pour into a large jug and allow to stand for up to 30 minutes before cooking.
- When ready to cook, heat a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Add a small amount of oil to the pan and tip out the excess. You want the pan to be seasoned, not full of oil.
- Pour a small amount of batter into the pan, tilt the pan to spread it to the edges then allow it to cook for about 30-60 seconds. It should go golden underneath during this time. When set either toss the pancake, or use a palette knife to turn it over in the pan, and cook for a further 30 seconds on the other side.
- You can either serve them as you go or create a stack of pancakes for using in other recipes.