Shrove Tuesday, more popularly referred to as Pancake Day, is a day either in February or March, the day before the first day of Lent. The reason pancakes are associated with this day is because they were a good way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the forty days of Lent.
Historically, before the Christian era, Pancake Day was originally celebrated as a pagan festival. The Slavs believed that the changing of the seasons was caused by the struggle between Jarilo, the god of springtime and vegetation, and the evil spirits of cold and darkness. In order to help Jarilo fight off these evil winter spirits and bring in the springtime, they consumed pancakes, which were thought to symbolise the sun. They believed that by eating pancakes, they would absorb the power, light and warmth of the sun (something that would certainly be helpful with the weather in Edinburgh being what it is at this time of year).
Whether you observe Lent or not, Pancake Day is a good excuse to hone your flipping skills and get some tasty treats in the process. I personally prefer American style pancakes to the thinner crêpe-like variety, so my recipe is guaranteed to give you thick, fluffy pancakes every time.
1 large egg
2 tbsp. melted butter
2 tbsp. caster sugar
½ cup or 130ml milk
3/5 cup or 135g plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Nutella/maple syrup/butter/raspberry jam/chocolate sauce/whipped cream for topping depending on your personal preference.
Beat together all of the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
– Mix together the dry ingredients separately before folding into the
wet ingredients. Be sure to mix until smooth, minimising lumps.
– Let the batter sit for a little while to ensure it is not too runny. It should be fairly thick so that it does not spread too much or too quickly when you pour it into the pan and can retain a circular shape.
– Heat a small amount of butter or oil in a frying pan over a low flame. Once the pan is hot, ladle in one pancake at a time.
– Keep the flame low and wait for small bubbles to appear on the surface of the pancake before attempting to flip over.
– Once both sides are a light golden brown colour, serve with dollop of your chosen topping or fresh fruit and ice cream. Happy pancaking!