Pancake Day, or the more traditional Shrove Tuesday, is the day when we all mutter those words “we really should make pancakes more often!”
Historically, this day precedes the 40 days of Lent, as a way of using up rich foods such as milk, eggs and sugar before starting the fast. Although these days we may just think of it as an excuse to eat these tasty fluffy treats, it’s nice to remember the purpose of Shrove Tuesday, even as an atheist. It’s a time for letting go of luxuries and selfishness in order to reflect on the more important things and remember a simpler life.
So why not make the most of our modern Pancake Day with some healthier and some more luxurious topping ideas. And if you don’t already, celebrate the true tradition of Shrove Tuesday by giving something up for Lent.
The Perfect Pancake
Every mum will have a recipe up their sleeve for a traditional pancake, but if you haven’t had one handed down, try the following to make a perfect pancake. I like to use whole milk for a creamier flavour.
140g plain flour
pinch of salt
200ml whole milk mixed with 100ml of cold water
25g melted unsalted butter (optional)
a little oil or butter for frying
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Break the eggs into the well and slowly whisk. Add the milk and water mixture gradually while whisking until all of the milk has been added.
- Whisk the mixture until smooth and all of the flour has been combined with the wet ingredients. If using butter, whisk this in until combined.
- Heat a lightly greased pan over a medium heat. Pour a couple of tbsp of the batter into the pan, tilting the pan it until it is evenly coated. Cook for around 45 seconds one side, or until small bubbles begin to pop on the surface. Flip the pancake over using a spatula or palette knife (if you’re really flash you can do this just by flicking the pan!) and cook on the other side for 30 seconds, until golden.
- Serve individually, or stack with baking paper between to keep them from sticking.
6 Sexy Pancake Toppings
Everyone knows of the old classic pancake topper – a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of caster sugar. Refreshing and sweet with a lovely bitter twist. But here are some other ways you can spice up your pancakes this year:
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
A sprinkling of caster sugar.
Try golden caster sugar for an unrefined, yet gorgeously sweet flavour.
The Banana Nut
A dollop of peanut butter
Sliced, fresh banana.
You could also add a spoon of Greek yoghurt, crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream for a more luxurious dessert. Ice cream is actually a low GI food, releasing sugars slowly and keeping you full, not to mention the benefits dairy foods give you.
Handful of fresh berries.
Dollop of Greek yoghurt.
Raspberries or blueberries are our favourite for an antioxidant hit.
Raspberry and White Chocolate
Handful of fresh raspberries.
Sprinkle of white chocolate drops.
These flavours work wonderfully together, and in small quantities white chocolate is a sweet treat to enjoy.
A small spoon full of maple syrup.
2 tbsp of mixed nuts and seeds.
Maple syrup is actually more concentrated, yet lower in calories than honey. Not only that, but is a source of manganese and zinc. Add a nice crunch with some heart healthy nuts and seeds.
1 tbsp of oats, dry fried with a sprinkle of sugar
Pinch of flaked almonds
You could add a spoonful of vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert.
Pancakes don’t have to be sweet, crepes have been a savoury option for years.
Try yours as a main course with curry favourites, or as an alternative to fajitas. You could fill them with wilted spinach and ricotta, mushrooms ham and goats cheese, cottage cheese and bacon, or butternut squash and chick peas. The possibilities are endless!