It’s almost that time of year again. Where for one day, it’s acceptable to eat pancakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Piled high, sprinkled with sugar and a squeeze of lemon – or maybe you prefer them drenched in maple syrup and served with crispy bacon. It is, of course, Pancake Day. Or Shrove Tuesday as it’s formally known.
An Anglo-Saxon Christian tradition, the religious association of Shrove Tuesday began because the day preceding Ash Wednesday presented an opportunity to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk and sugar, before Lent. It always falls on a Tuesday, but never on the same date, as it must always be 47-days before Easter Sunday.
However, over time, the old age tradition has become a favourite of many – religious or not. Some people give up something for 40-days, while others just indulge in the pancake eating. And that’s absolutely fine. Especially as it means caterers can use Shrove Tuesday to increase their sales.
Depending on what type of hospitality business you run, you may just want to offer a simple spread of thin crepes with a choice of toppings like nutella, maple syrup, and of course, lemon and sugar. Or, you may wish to offer a mix of sweet and savoury pancakes that can be enjoyed for brunch and dinner. Something like spinach and ricotta or cheese and onion filled pancakes; pancakes topped with avocado, smoked salmon, and a poached egg; grated courgette and feta pancakes. And for the sweet, any array of fruit like bananas, strawberries or blueberries, toasted nuts, jam or chocolate spread, and cream or even ice cream will do the trick.
Pancakes, while easy enough to make, can be tricky to do in one go, if you have a lot of orders. Try making them ahead of time and reheat them in the pan just before serving or keep them warm in the oven, with greaseproof paper between each one, so they don’t stick. The most important thing is to have a brilliant non-stick pan – it will make your pancake making much easier. And if the first one goes wrong. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us; the pan just likely wasn’t hot enough.
Lastly, you should also consider offering gluten-free and vegan alternatives too. Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free and works really well in place of flour, and you can use any vegan milk or butter.
But there is one question… classic crepe or thick and fluffy? Luckily, we have a brilliant recipe for both.
Thick and fluffy pancakes. Makes 6-8
- 1 cup of plain flour
- ½ cup of soya or plain yoghurt
- ½ cup of milk of unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 lime (zested)
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- Butter or oil – for cooking
- Beat the egg and then combine with the rest of the wet pancake ingredients
- Now add the rest of the ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and mix well until a batter forms – the mixture should be thick, if it seems too dry though, add a drop more milk
- Now heat your pancake pan on a medium heat with a little oil or butter and then add a spoonful of the pancake mixture – roughly ⅓ cup or a ladle full. Use the back of the ladle to spread out the mix
- Cook for a couple of minutes on each side until golden and then repeat with the rest of the mix
Crepe pancakes. Makes 6-8
- 100g plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 300ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable, plus extra for frying
- A pinch salt
- Place the plain flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl
- Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into the middle
- Pour in roughly 50ml of semi-skimmed milk and 1 tbsp sunflower oil, then whisk from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the wet mixture
- Once all the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste
- Add a little more milk and whisk again
- Now pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk, whisking all the while until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream
- Heat the pan over a moderate heat, then add a little oil or butter and make sure it’s spread to the edges
- Ladle some batter into the pan, and move the pan around so it spreads around the pan – quickly pour any excess batter into the mixing bowl, return the pan to the heat
- Leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 30 seconds
- Using a palette knife, place it carefully under the pancake, then lift and flip it over. Cook for another 30 seconds before turning out onto a warm plate
- Continue with the rest of the batter until you have used the whole mixture