Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Pancake Day - Shrove Tuesday

Well, it is that time of year again. In the UK, Shrove Tuesday is known as Pancake Day (or Pancake Tuesday to some people) because it is the one day of the year when almost everyone tucks into a plate of pancakes.

This year (2008), Pancake day is on Tuesday, 5th February. Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the period which Christians call Lent. Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between February 3 and March 9.

The name Shrove comes from the old word "shrive" which means to confess. Christians used to go to confession and were "Shriven" (absolved from their sins). It was the last opportunity to use eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients.

The traditional English Pancake is a thin, flat cake, made of batter and baked on a griddle or fried in a pan. The pancake has a very long history and featured in cookbooks as far back as 1439. The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old.

Certainly these days, part of the fun of cooking pancakes is in the tossing. To toss a pancake successfully takes a combination of the perfect pancake and good technique - it's so easy to get it wrong and end up with half the pancake still stuck to the pan while the other half is stuck to the ceiling or floor. All is all, it's probably best to practise a few times without an audience.


For the pancake mixture:
110g/4oz plain flour, sifted
pinch of salt
2 eggs
200ml/7fl oz milk mixed with 75ml/3fl oz water
50g/2oz butter

To serve:
Lemon juice
Lemon slices/wedges

Please click HERE for a UK/US conversion table


Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with a sieve held high above the bowl so the flour gets a airing.

Now make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it.

Then begin whisking the eggs - any sort of whisk or even a fork will do - incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so.
Then gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking (don't worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk).

When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any elusive bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream.

The secret to the perfect pancake is to let the batter mix rest for at least one hour. This will help the pancake to be light and fluffy.

When you are ready to cook your pancakes, melt the 50g/2oz of butter in a pan. Spoon 2 tbsp of it into the batter and whisk it in, then pour the rest into a bowl and use it to lubricate the pan, using a wodge of kitchen paper to smear it round before you make each pancake.

Now get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and, to start with, do a test pancake to see if you're using the correct amount of batter. I find 2 tbsp is about right for an 18cm/7in pan. It's also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter.

It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it's tinged gold as it should be.

Flip the pancake over with a pan slice or palette knife - the other side will need a few seconds only - then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate.

(If you are making more than one at once, then stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest).

There are various things you can add to an English Pancake, but my favourite is to add Lemon and Sugar. If you are going to have some pancakes, you should at least try this one.

To serve, spinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed lemon juice and some sugar.

Then fold in half, and in half again to form triangles, or else simply roll them up as I have done here (in my opinion, this is the best way to eat them). Serve sprinkled with a little more sugar or (icing sugar) and lemon juice and extra slice of lemon.

I hope you have an attempt at cooking some English Pancakes. To be honest, I like them anytime of the year... I don't need the excuse of Shrove Tuesday ;)

Cheerio for now,

Graham Ettridge xx


Marjie said...

looks tasty graham. it reminds me of the flat pancakes crepes that my granny use to make. i think i'd spice mine up with trying your recipe. lol!

no more said...

ok that i'm going to try because i've never had pancakes like that before. I"m sure you're familiar with the american pancakes (which i'm not sure if they are commonly eaten where you are) that are thick, soft and bready. The kind that'll make you double over afterward and wish you were Maybe that's why i never tried the lemon/sugar thing because on our style of pancakes that might be a bit strange..although who knows it might be good.

i'm going to try this! Ever put cinnamon or anything else on yours?

Ineke said...

OMG. How can you do this to me? I am on a freakin'diet !

Come and pick up your award at !

Anonymous said...


Sugarqueensdream said...

I will try and remember this date for pancakes , I love them!!
sugar to you, Judy

Max Coutinho said...

Hey Graham,

For us this is the "crepe" recipe. The pancake recipe is similar to yours, but instead of inserting the whole egg, we put the yellow first, and in the end we add the wipped yalk (that way it is even more fluffy).

Last week I tried using lemon syrup (water, sugar and lemon peel boiled until it becomes thickish); however if you try sugar and cinnamon (and then roll it up): Mmmmmm! Delicious...I guarantee...


Max Coutinho said...

Heya Graham,

You have been awarded:


Anonymous said...

The crepe looks delicious!

I will have to try the recipe...

linda said...

I make pancakes at home and they get eaten as fast as I make them. They are thin and slightly crisp at the edge. My dad made them when I was little, he was once a cook in the Merchant Navy.
I never eat them now - I would be sick. But I remember exactly the taste of the lemon and sugar on the pancake. So, with that memory I can still serve up a decent one.

Although, once I tried to make them with stoneground, organic, wholegrain flour - you can imagine why the ended up in the bin.

Practically Dutch said...

Hey Graham!

I am very happy to realise that i will be back in the UK in time for pancakes!!!

i have updated my blog! finally.. and have also made a promise that i shall continue to update regularly when i return to the UK!

Thank you for your lovely comments Graham, i tmeans a lot to know people are thinking of us x

Choc Mint Girl said...

Why everytime I visit your blog, I always feel SO hungry!!!??? Hi hi hi...

dragoncaller said...

heyz. so guess what. i was bored tonight so i decided to make that. so i did. it was amazing! so thanks! lol.

Anonymous said...

You have a very nice blog, good post...keep up the good job

Sue said...


Cat's Confessions said...

Oh yummy Graham, you made me look at pancakes in a different way! This looks sort of like a crepe, it would be good also with some cheese cake type filling and berries, mmmmmm.

Elise said...

I completely forgot about it until Wednesday morning. I mad pancakes that weekend. I love English Pancakes with lemon juice and sugar... I tried using orange squash too.

All this pancake talk is getting me hungry! xx

DANIELA said...



Michelle Hix said...

So, this week my husband bought pancakes in a can...actually, its called Batter Blaster! Did you even know such thing existed? You literally blast the batter out of the can straight into the hot pan...SCARY! As he blasted me out a cake, I thought of your lovely little precious delicate pancake that you took so much care to make.

Cocaine Princess said...

I love Pancakes especially when they're topped with strawberries and whip creme. Yummy!

Cocaine Princess

Chick said...

graham, I absolutely love this post. I love the background about shrove day and I loooove the pictures of those pancakes. lovely

Michelle Hix said...

This pancake looks much better than the king cake I posted! Maybe I should celebrate "shrove" Tuesday instead of Fat Tuesday.

Kelly Ann said...

Pancakes with lemon and sugar, neat, haven't heard of that one before! :)

Starfire said...

Looks good, thanks for the recipe. I miss lemon and sugar pancakes- maybe the recipe is originally French as here in Japan they call thin pancakes 'crepes', but they have them with lots of toppings, like whipped cream and chocolate.

Unknown said...

Ooops, I have fallen way behind with my comments. Sorry folks!

Marjie, You are correct - these are pretty much the same as a crepe (just an English version - and being English means that they taste!)

Muse :D you must try cooking pancakes. I love cinnamon, so will definitely give it a try. The trouble is, I love lemon and sugar sooooo much that I am boring to use anything else. However, I will def give it a try.

Hiya ineke - lol! Sorry hun ;) and thank you sooo much for the award.

Meleah rebeccah :) Mmmmmm indeed!!

Unknown said...

Sugar Queen Dreams.... You must definitely give them a go... You'll never look back :)

Max, another person recommending cimammon! It sounds very popular. I'll be trying it next time for sure !!! And thank you so much for your award. I truly appreciate it,

Kris, I hope you like them!

Linda :) , lol.... I can imagine how they! I think it is the lemon and sugar that I enjoy as much as the pancake itself.. Mmmmmmmm

Unknown said...

Rachel, there isn't a better place in the world than England on Pancake Day!!!!!!!! Welcome home!!! I hope things go well for you during your visit!!!

Choc, why is it every time I think of you... I desire a bar of! Thanks for your kind words :)

Oh my goodness... Dragon Caller!!!! Long time no speak! How are you! I am glad you enjoyed the pancakes :))))

Sorina, thank you so much for your nice words :)

Sue, hey! How ya doing? Thanks for your comment

Cat, I am definitely going to experiment with pancakes now that I have read all of these recommendations. Mmmmmm, I can't wait :)))

Unknown said...

Elise :D How can you nearly forget about pancake day? Shame on you hun ;) I hope you enjoyed them. MMmmmmm, I'm feeling hingry now!

Daniela, thank you. My cooking isn't that great at the moment... but I am determined to practice my skills.

Michelle, lol! Batter blaster??? Lol! That sounds funny.... but I bet it doesn't even come close to the real homemade stuff.

Unknown said...

Hey Cocaine Princess :) Stawberries and whipped cream... now I can think of a couple of other uses for!!!

Christine.... thank you sooo much. Your words mean alot to me and I appreciate them.! Shrove Tuesday does sound better than Fat! Less guilt!

Chica, yes I have now realised that lemon and sugar are not a common thing with pancakes in the USA. Strange as it is to you, it is equally strange here to have anything but.... lol! You must give it a try and let me know what you think!

Starfire, I think it may be French origin... or at least it is very similar to crepes. I think the tradition is widely spread. Which is good news as they are sooooo scrummy!

jafabrit said...

I had a walk down memory lane reading this blog entry lol! I used to love pancakes with lemon juice. I like your blog, really cool.

Anonymous said...

OMG, that looks delicious! Reminds me of these incredible crepes from Vancouver that had nutella (or substitute fudge) and bananas plus whip cream. To DIE for!

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