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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pancake Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is observed mainly in English speaking countries, especially Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, but is also observed in the Phillipines and Germany. Shrove Tuesday is linked to Easter so its date changes on an annual basis.
In most traditions the day is known for the eating of pancakes before the start of Lent. Pancakes are eaten as they are made out of the main foods available, sugar, fat, flour and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent.
In our house, we love pancakes! Ok, let me put it another way, I like pancakes a normal amount, but Nicola loves pancakes? The secret to a good pancake is to keep the batter mix simple. This recipe has been borrowed from Delia Smith, it's easy to follow and makes deliciously light pancakes.
Ingredients
For the pancake mixture
  • 110g/4oz plain flour, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml/7fl oz milkmixed with 75ml/3fl oz water
  • 50g/2oz butter
To serve
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges

Preparation method

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with a sieve held high above the bowl so the flour gets an 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.
    Next 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. Now 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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. To serve, sprinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster sugar, fold in half, then in half again to form triangles, or else simply roll them up. Serve sprinkled with a little more sugar and lemon juice and extra sections of lemon.

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