Pancakes! The possibilities are endless, so lucky for us pancake day is here. What better way to spend it than sitting around all day with a huge, delicious stack of pancakes? Thanks to lockdown we’ve never had a better excuse to do so!
Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday as it is traditionally known, is the traditional feast before Ash Wednesday. It always falls on a Tuesday, 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies every year but will fall somewhere between February and March 9.
A brief history
Many people are known to the story of Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter. And this is why there is a big feast, as people would begin fasting the following day. Pancakes came around as the traditional feast as families would just use whatever they left in their cupboards to get rid of them before fasting, these usually included things like flour, butter, milk etc.
It is said that on Shrove Tuesday people would go and confess their sins and be ‘shriven’ (absolved of their sin) thus the name ‘Shrove’ Tuesday.
However, some people believe that pancake day originated from Paganism, where pancakes are a way of celebrating the sun. There are many stories that talk about how the hot round cakes are a symbolism of the warmth, power and light of the sun. Nowadays though, everyone is more interested in the pancakes themselves than anything else. Who can blame them, pancakes are delish.
- Brits use an average of 52 million eggs on Pancake Day.
- The largest pancake ever was 15 meters and three tons in weight.
- World record for the most flips in two minutes is 349.
- In France it is customary to make a wish when flipping your pancake.
- The highest tossed pancake was 9.47 meters (31ft and 1in) .
- In 1961, Pancake Day fell on Valentine’s day, this phenomenon won’t occur again until 2040.
Around the world on Pancake Day
The UK isn’t the only country which celebrates pancake day, although other countries celebrate a little differently.
- In Poland, they traditionally celebrated Pancake Day by indulging in lard, bacon and vodka for a whole week before beginning their fast on Ash Wednesday, although they now spend the day eating pancakes, doughnuts and pastries.
- Spain throw a carnival the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, known as ‘Día de la tortilla’ which means day of the omelette.
- On the last day before lent, Danish toy stores and bakeries fill their windows with toy cats, wooden barrels and freshly baked buns. The buns were are filled with sweet assortments, including whipped cream, jam and chocolate. This is their way of marking the celebration of ‘Fastenlavn’ – Denmark’s version of Pancake Day.
- In Lithuania, people indulge in potato pancakes, doughnuts and boiled pork. They are encouraged to eat at least 12 meals during shrove Tuesday, in preparation for fasting.
Brig wanted to know what its students thought about pancakes and what their favourite toppings were.
Brig asked if they preferred sweet or savoury pancakes, and it’s fair to say that sweet won by a landslide, with 84 per cent to 12 per cent for savoury.
Brig asked what everyone’s favourite toppings were. The highest response was lemon, lime and sugar, with Nutella in second and jam or fruit also being popular. This goes to show just how much of a sweet tooth we all have.
In case you are a pancake lover but aren’t quite sure how to whip up a batch, below are two different pancake recipes that you can adapt to your liking. A fluffy thick pancake recipe for all those American style pancake lovers and a crepe recipe for those of you who like to keep things sweet and simple.
Easy to make Crepes
- 125g plain flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 360ml milk
- 1 tbsp butter
- icing sugar optional (for serving)
- toppings of your choice for serving
Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle, add the beaten eggs and slowly whisk them into the flour. Add the sugar and salt and mix until combined. Gradually add the milk, whisking to combine. Let the batter sit in room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
In a frying pan on medium heat add some butter or vegetable oil, about 60ml at a time drop the batter into the pan, swirling to even the coat.
Cook for two minutes then flip and cook for one minute more; repeat with the remaining batter. And there you have it, the perfect crepe. Can be served hot or cold.
Fluffy American pancakes
- 135g plain flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 130ml milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp melted butter
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and the egg, then whisk in the melted butter.
Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, using a fork, beat together until smooth. Let the batter sit for a few minutes.
Melt a little butter or use cooking oil in a non-stick frying pan. Once hot, add a ladle of batter, wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble (usually about two minutes) then flip it over and cook until golden brown and the pancake has risen about 1cm.
Repeat until all the batter is used up. These pancakes are best when fresh out the pan. And serve with your choice of delicious toppings. Enjoy!
Hope you all have a flipping fantastic day!
Feature image credit: awarenessdays.com