This year, Pancake Day falls on 4th March 2014. The day is more correctly known as ‘Shrove Tuesday’, the word ‘Shrove’ coming from ‘shrive’ meaning to confess. It’s the last day before the fasting period of Lent which starts on the following day, Ash Wednesday, so traditionally it was a way of using up milk and eggs before the fast as well an excuse for a last indulgent meal.
Making your own pancakes is great fun, and simpler than you might think with our (almost) foolproof recipe.
110g plain flour
2 freerange eggs
25g butter or 2 tablespoons oil
Pre-heat the oven to 50 degrees centigrade, then start by sifting the flour into a large bowl to remove any lumps. Put the eggs and milk into a measuring jug, and beat them together until fully combined and frothy. Make a well in the flour and pour in about a third of the milk mixture. Whisk the milk into the flour, and continue to add the rest of the liquid slowly until the batter has the same consistency as pouring cream.
Melt half the butter or oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Use some greaseproof or kitchen paper to rub the fat over the pan evenly, then pour in a small amount of batter. Rotate the pan so the batter spreads evenly, and wait for it to cook through which should take 20 – 30 seconds. Use a fish slice to flip the pancake onto the other side, and fry for any 10 seconds or so until golden brown on both sides.
Slide the pancake onto a heatproof plate, cover with a square of greaseproof paper or aluminium foil, and put in the oven while you make the rest of the pancakes. Between each one, add a tiny amount more fat to the pan to prevent sticking.
The classic way to serve pancakes is with a scattering of caster sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice, but the possibilities are endless. Here are a few of our favourites:
For a light lunch, Italian-style: Finely chop and onion, and fry until golden brown. Add some sliced mushrooms, and fry until soft. Add some slices fresh tomatoes, torn fresh basil leaves and grated smoked cheese and fill pancakes.
For a sweet treat: Slice a banana, and put in a frying pan over a low heat. Add two teaspoons of golden syrup and a pinch of cinnamon. Heat until the syrup melts and coats the banana, then fill pancakes.
For the ultimate brunch: Fry some strips of crispy bacon. Scramble an egg, and mix in the bacon. Fill the pancake with the egg mixture and some slices of tomato.
Our favourite pancake accessories
Labrador apron from Sophie Allport
When you’re cooking pancakes, especially if your children are helping, an apron is a must. We love Sophie Allport’s 100% cotton aprons in a range of designs, all available in child and adult sizes. This black Labrador apron costs £9.50 for a child’s size and £15 for an adult’s, available from their website.
Pink Katie Alice frying pan
Add a little glamour to your cooking with this cute pink frying pan by Katie Alice. It’s available in a range of pastel colours from £7.99, and available from the English Table.
To really get the most out of your lemons, how about this beautiful KiBiSi lemon juicer? Handcrafted from beech wood, it fits snugly into your hand for ease of use, and will last a lifetime. £25 from Nordic design specialists Story North.