Published: 28/02/2022 By Team AbodeThis year, Shrove Tuesday, or pancake day, falls on 1 March but why do we celebrate Pancake Day?
For Christians, Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent, traditionally a period of abstinence, associated with clearing your cupboards of goods such as sugar, fats and eggs. Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up these foods before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began. Some believe the four ingredients used in pancakes may actually represent the four pillars of the Christian faith - flour as ‘the staff of life’, eggs as ‘creation’, milk as ‘purity’ and salt as ‘wholesomeness’. Although the day is important in Christian tradition, Pancake Day is widely celebrated by those outside of the faith.
What does Shrove Tuesday mean?
The word 'shrove' derives from the English word 'shrive', which means “to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and penance”. The day gets its unique name from the custom for Christians to be 'shriven' before the start of Lent. They would be called to confession by the ring of a bell which came to be known as the 'pancake bell' and it is still rung in some churches today.
Why do we flip pancakes?
The pancake has a very long history and is featured in cookery books as far back as 1439. The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old. According to legend, the tradition was born in the 15th century when a woman in Buckinghamshire rushed to church to confess her sins while mid-way through making pancakes.
- 100g plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 300ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable, plus extra for frying
- pinch salt
- Put 100g plain flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Make a well in the centre and crack 2 eggs into the middle.
- Pour in about 50ml from the 300ml of semi-skimmed milk and 1 tbsp sunflower oil then start whisking from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the eggs, milk and oil. Once all the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it is too stiff to beat.
- Add a good splash of milk and whisk to loosen the thick batter. While still whisking, pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk. Continue pouring and whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream.
- Heat the pan over a moderate heat, then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper.
- Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin and even layer. Quickly pour any excess batter into the mixing bowl, return the pan to the heat.
- Leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 30 secs. If the pan is the right temperature, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 30 secs and will be ready to turn.
- Hold the pan handle, ease a palette knife under the pancake, then quickly lift and flip it over. Make sure the pancake is lying flat against the base of the pan with no folds, then cook for another 30 secs before turning out onto a warm plate.
- Continue with the rest of the batter, serving them as you cook or stack onto a plate. You can freeze the pancakes for 1 month, wrapped in cling film or make them up to a day ahead.