Pancake Tuesday tradition falls flat
Pancakes with sugar and lemon, which are traditionally made on Shrove Tuesday to use up any remaining milk, eggs and butter before Lent begins tomorrow. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
It’s a tradition that dates back centuries, but it seems the custom of whipping up a batch of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday has fallen rather flat.
The simple combination of plain flour, milk and eggs can lead to sheer magic in the kitchen, yet a new study says many British people will be shunning pancakes today.
Just half of people surveyed will be getting out the frying pans for this year’s festivities, a drop of 25 per cent compared with 10 years ago, according to British research by Lyle’s Golden Syrup.
A quarter of those surveyed were clueless about how to make a simple pancake batter from scratch.
The reasons given ranged from ‘can’t be bothered’ to concern that the dish takes ‘too much time and effort’.
Some 15 million Irish eggs will be used to make pancakes in households across Ireland this year, according to the Irish Egg Association.
Traditionally cooking with the eggs, flour and butter on Shrove Tuesday was aimed at using up remaining rich food in the larder ahead of the abstinence and fasting of Lent.
Pancake Tuesday always comes the day before Ash Wednesday which marks the start of Lent.It stems from the old English word “shrive”, meaning to confess sins.
The word ‘pancake’ can refer to a variety of creations from around the world — whether it’s the thin kind traditionally served with lemon and sugar, a stack of fluffy American ones topped with blueberries or maple syrup, or a lacy French crepe smothered in chocolate hazelnut spread.
Below are some recipes to get started:
Traditional Irish pancake recipe (makes 6, courtesy of Irish Egg Association/Eggs.ie)
*100g plain flour
*Pinch of salt
*300 ml milk
* 1 tablsp. melted butter or sunflower oil
1. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
2. Crack the egg into the well, add the melted butter or oil and half the milk. Gradually draw the flour into the liquid by stirring all the time with a wooden spoon until all the flour has been incorporated, then beat well to make a smooth batter. Stir in the remaining milk. Alternatively, beat all the ingredients together for 1 minute in a blender or food processor. Leave to stand for about 30 minutes, stir again before using.
3. To make the pancakes, heat a small heavy-based frying until very hot and then turn the heat down to medium.
4. Lightly grease with oil and then ladle in enough batter to coat the base of the pan thinly (about 2 tablsp.), tilting the pan so the mixture spreads evenly.
5. Cook over a moderate heat for 1-2 minutes or until the batter looks dry on the top and begins to brown at the edges.
6. Flip the pancake over with a palette knife or fish slice and cook the second side.
7. Turn onto a plate, smear with a little butter, sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice – enjoy!
To serve: Butter. Caster sugar. Lemon juice
Savoury pancakes (make 10, courtesy of Irish Egg Association/Eggs.ie)
*110g plain flour
*Pinch of salt
*2 large eggs
*200ml milk mixed with 75ml water
*3tbsp chopped fresh herbs
*Butter or sunflower oil for cooking.
1.Sieve the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and add the chopped herbs
2.Melt the butter. Mix the eggs with melted butter, milk and water.
3.Make a well in the centre, pour in the liquids and whisk well, ensuring all flour lumps have disappeared.
4.Leave to stand for about 30 minutes.
5.Get your pan really hot, then turn down to medium. Add a little butter or oil, swirl it around and wipe excess off with kitchen paper.
6.Ladle in the batter, swirl it around and cook, it should only take half a minute. The pancake should be a nice golden brown colour on the underside.
7.Flip over and cook the other side.
8.Continue until all the batter is used up.
To serve: Pesto, roasted red peppers and soft goats’ cheese, BLT – chopped lettuce, smoked bacon and tomato with a wholegrain mustard dressing.
Additional reporting PA