Today is a very important day…..very important!!
Last week, on February 14th, I saw a Facebook status from one of my good friends saying “forget Valentines Day, this time next week it’s Pancake Day!!” and here it is!!
For readers in America, you’re probably thinking, so what, we have pancakes every day for breakfast. Well here in England, we save our pancakes for a very special day, and today is it – Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, where tradition (and the Christian religion) states you abstain for Lent, which is the 47 days until Easter Sunday. Over the years I have given up many things for Lent: Sweets, Alcohol (which wasn’t hard as I’m not much of a drinker), Chocolate (which I failed at) and caffeine. This year I’ve thought of going the sweets route again, but we’ll see how good my will power is tomorrow. What will you be giving up?
Traditionally you should abstain from eating milk, butter and eggs during lent, which just so happen to be most of the ingredients in pancakes, hence today is Pancake Day!
English pancakes are usually crepe type affairs. And as a child we would enjoy ours sprinkled with sugar and a squirt of lemon juice, and rolled up like a swiss roll.
So to invoke childhood memories, but be a bit more gluttonous about it, I have made a huge pancake stack drizzled with Lemon and Sugar Syrup.
Pancake Stack with Lemon Sugar Syrup
For the syrup
70gms Caster Sugar
1 lemon, sliced
For the pancakes
200gms Self Raising Flour
1 tspn Baking Powder
Pinch of salt
Butter to fry
Start the syrup by putting the sugar and water in a heavy bottom saucepan over a low heat. Do not stir, just swish around the pan.
Once the sugar has melted, add the slices of lemon and leave to simmer gently
Be careful, molten sugar is very very hot and can burn you
Now onto the pancakes: sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl
In a jug whisk the milk and the egg until full combined
Make a well (a big dent) in the centre of the flour mix, and pour the egg and milk into it.
Whisk until its all combined into a thick batter
In a frying pan melt a nob of butter until sizzling.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of batter into the centre of the pan, which will spread to about 10cm.
Cook for about 3 minutes, or until small bubbles start to appear on the surface
Carefully turn the pancake, and cook the other side for approx 2 minutes
Remove from the pan, and put to one side on a sheet of kitchen paper
Repeat the process until you have about 6 or 7 pancakes, or until all the batter is used.
Now back to your syrup. This should have been bubbling away. The longer you leave it, the sharper and more lemony the taste will become. So if you just want a hint of lemon, simmer for just 5 minutes, for a stronger taste, maybe about 10 minutes.
Again, I can’t stress this enough – molten sugar is very hot – be careful!!
Time to stack your pancakes:
On a clean plate, place one pancake.
Drizzle with a teaspoon of syrup
Top with another pancake and repeat until you’re all out of pancakes
Drizzle the remaining syrup over the top
For extra sweetness, douse with a cloud of icing sugar or for extra sharpness use the lemon slices between the pancakes.
What you should have is a large stack of pancakes which can be sliced like a cake.
Enjoy Pancake Day, and good luck with whatever you’re giving up for Lent!!