Fancy pancakes. Try these light and fluffy American style pancakes anytime of the day.
Having quickly looked on Wikipedia for some insight to the history of Shrove Tuesday I found out quite a lot of information. I will try not to bore you with the full page but here is the link – Shrove Tuesday
The main information I found out was the day falls exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday and could be any Tuesday between the 3 February and 9 March. The tradition for Pancake Day is as quoted from Wikipedia: “Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. The liturgical fasting emphasised eating plainer food and refraining from food that would give pleasure: in many cultures, this means no meat, dairy products, or eggs. Now, what does pancake day mean to me?
I will recall the days in my early Army years as the chefs working on Shrove Tuesday would be ready for our morning brief and the boss would come out, usually with a smug grin on his face.
As we were told of the day’s events and menus to be produced the boss would interrupt with the subtle; “Anyone tells me what day it is” No one ever wanted to say Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day as we knew what was coming.
“It’s Pancake Day, and who is in pastry today”
“Me Sir” I would reply with the thought of how many pancakes this time?
“Happy days Pte Brewer, nice and easy today only 500 pancakes for dinner”
“Yes Sir” as I could also hear the rest of the chefs cringing under their breath. And away I went, not only the cakes for lunch and the usual desserts and puddings for dinner but now 500 pancakes. Not only was this hard enough as it was but as always the pancake pans were never non-stick.
So was pancake day an enjoyable one? In fact, it was, as we as a catering department worked hard together, we all helped get these pancakes done.
The prospect of making pancakes now is even more enjoyable as I have a family. Seeing the kids faces as they build their own pancakes with various fillings is sublime. Hearing the ooooh’s from the two youngest, 1 & 3, and the “wow” from the eldest makes it all the more exciting.
This year we opted for the more unconventional American style pancakes, something we all enjoy and sometimes have as a treat on a lazy Sunday morning. So out they came, first ones plain (for the kids to start), the next cinnamon (for the wife) and last chocolate for all of us that could manage a little more. All this is topped off with Nutella, Squirty Cream, Peanut Butter and Maple Syrup. The last two my personal favourites.
Now did we enjoy them? Of course, as the kids looked more like they had tried to eat them with their hands tied behind their back and more so the wife and I also had a few smudging’s round our happy chops.
Now if we are talking crepes, the thin style pancake that is famous for tossing in the pan, it has to be lemon and sugar every time.
I used a BBC good food recipe this time, one I have used many a time.
Happy Pancake day everyone and hope you all enjoyed it as much as my family and me.
American Style Pancakes
- 140 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tbsp muscovado sugar or brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 300 ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp melted butter plus extra for frying
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, sugar and ½ tsp salt. In a jug, whisk the egg, milk, vanilla and melted butter. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture gradually, whisking as you go to make a smooth batter. Ideally, let the mixture stand for 1 hr (or even overnight, covered in the fridge), although you can cook with it straight away.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Melt a knob of butter, then drop in tbsps of the mixture to make pancakes about 10cm across. Cook for 2-3 mins until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip over and cook for 1 min more. Keep each batch warm while you use up the rest of the batter. Stack up the pancakes and serve with hot or cold compote, maple syrup and yogurt.