What is pancake day?
“A man who is tired of pancakes is tired of life.”Me. (with respect to Mr Johnson.)
OK, I’ll just cut the crepe and you batter listen up.
Today I will attempt to make and eat 5 different pancakes for you, dear reader. I will do this without the use of a safety net. Before I collapse into a diabetic coma, I’ll write this blog post and share those five wonderful pancake recipes. Can I do it? Read on to find out.
First, we are going to learn all about pancakes. We will get historical. Then I’m going to share with you the 5 delicious pancake recipes you’ll meet in heaven! You won’t believe number 6! What is this pancake day? Why is it? When it is? How to make a traditional UK pancake? I got your answers here. Please read on, dear reader.
This is the first in a series of occasional posts that explore the traditions of various countries. What better way to start with a tradition from my own country and one that’s also very Delicious?
So what is pancake day? In the UK pancake day is celebrated once a year and always on a Tuesday. The “proper” name is Shrove Tuesday. The actual date varies and is what’s known as a movable feast but it’s most commonly during February with the occasional date falling in March.
When is pancake day 2020? This year pancake day falls on February the 25th. Originally it was the day before fasting for lent and was intended to use up any leftover and indulgent foods. Now it’s really just an excuse to shove pancakes into your face, dodge diets, and eat like a 5-year-old. Glorious! Click to find out more about the history of pancake day.
Pancake day in Britain means that we traditionally eat tasty UK style pancakes. They differ from the fat fluffy American style pancakes. Ours is very similar to a French crepe.
UK pancakes are made from a simple batter of eggs, milk, flour, and a little sugar they are then cooked in a frying pan to produce a thin flat “cake”. When cooking the pancakes it’s traditional to flip by flicking the pan and sending them flipping through the air! Traditionally the pancakes are squirted with lemon juice and covered in sugar before being rolled up and eaten.
Pancake day (Shrove Tuesday) has been celebrated in the UK Since the 16th century. Many towns also hold pancake day races! People race through the streets flipping pancakes in frying pans as they run to the finish line. Fancy dress is often worn.
So now you know all about pancake day in the UK, but you’re missing the pancake based puns, right? I know, but don’t egg me on. I would just be milking it… So without further ado, it’s on to the delicious pancake recipes! I will show you how to make a traditional one for pancake day and then 4 delicious alternative recipes.
UK PANCAKE DAY UPDATE!!! ( now with more pancakes! )
Pancake Recipe Notes and Thoughts
“Where there is a perfect pancake flip, there is life.”Mahoatmeal Gandhi
So how to make traditional UK style pancakes? Further down the page, I’ll describe the batter mix which can be used for all 5 different pancake recipes. The pancake batter should yield around 4 to 6 pancakes.
Before getting into the recipes, a few thoughts and notes.
Jiff Lemon Juice
In the UK it’s popular when making the traditional lemon & Sugar pancake to use Jif Lemon. It has a different taste to that of fresh lemon. If you can find it or similar, I recommend using that.
Pancakes can obviously be turned using a spatula or other suitable implement but traditionally they are tossed with a flick of the frying pan to launch the pancake into the air and have it somersault back into the pan. The former is safer but the latter the most fun. The latter may result in ceilings, work surfaces, floors, small children and dogs covered in discs of delicious batter. Sure, the former is safer but who chooses safety over fun?! The pancake pan flip is not for the faint of heart, oh no. It’s for the crazy hearts and the daredevils! Embrace your inner daredevil! Go with your crazy wild heart and flip those flipping pancakes!
To Rest or Not to rest: That is the question.
It’s often said that pancake batters are best left to rest before being used. You may like to rest yours for 30 minutes before using but personally, I don’t think it makes any difference. I mention it here for completeness, should you wish to try.
I recommend using a mixture of butter and oil. A little oil added to the butter helps prevent butter burning. Oil has a higher smoke point than butter. When cooking my pancakes I use a generous amount of butter in the pan. My pancakes are pretty much fried. I like them to be golden and crispy yet soft inside. Others may like to use less fat in the pan during cooking.
The First One
Lore handed down by wise pancake masters holds that the first pancake from the pan will be the least of its brothers. The first pancake is always imperfect. Pancakes are a life lesson. What you create or attempt will often be imperfect on the first try but keep trying and you’ll next attempts will surely be better.
I find that for whatever reason it’s true that the first pancake is never the best. It’s a good idea not to present this to guests but the chef should greedily gobble it down, hot and fresh from the pan! This is a reward for the pancake chef. Enjoy.
Five Delicious Pancake Day Recipes
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”– J.R.R. Tolkien
So here, first, is the standard batter mixture you’ll use for the following pancake recipes. The batter and methods are the same. Only the toppings will change.
Pancake Batter Recipe
- 1 medium size egg
- 120 grams (4.23 oz) of plain flour
- 200 ml (just over 3/4 cups) of whole milk
- a daring dash of vanilla extract
- a sexy sprinkle of sugar
- Sift the flour into a bowl.
- beat the egg.
- create a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the eggs. Add around a 1/4 of the milk in with the eggs and stir mixture until you have a smooth lump free consistency. Continue to add a little milk in at a time while stirring. Your aim is to have a lump free batter around the thickness of double cream. A mistake a lot of people is to make the batter too thick.
- Sprinkle in a little sugar and a dash of vanilla.
Your batter is done and ready to be used. Nothing can now stand in your way. Your immediate future is filled with crisp yet soft and yielding pancakes topped with sexy sinful sweetness.
On to the recipes! The first traditional style pancake is the template to be used for the other four pancake recipes.
UK Pancake Day recipe 1: The Traditional Lemon & Sugar
Quite often the simple things are really the most wonderful. A simple combination of tangy tart lemon tamed and tempered with snow white sweet sugar. This is a taste of my childhood.
- Lemon juice (Jif Lemon for preference)
- White granulated sugar
- On a medium heat bring a well seasoned or non-stick pan to temperature. Swirl in a generous knob of butter and a little oil and let it brown slightly.
- Pour in a ladle of batter mixture and spread evenly by either swirling the pan or spreading with a spatula, You’re aiming for a thin circle of batter.
- Watch closely, when you see the top is set and the edges begin to darken, flip the pancake.
- Fry the other side until crisp and golden. Ensure both sides are nice and golden and slide out pancake onto a waiting plate.
- Drench with tangy lemon juice and a blizzard of sugar (or to your own liking)
- roll the pancake into a tube and here you may sprinkle a little extra sugar or drizzle a little extra juice or you may not.
- Stuff it in your face hole or give it to somebody else to stuff in their face hole.
UK Pancake Recipe 2: The Mojito
I was inspired by the famous Cuban classic cocktail. Here, lime juice and rich dark demerara sugar replace the traditional lemon and white sugar. Rum is coming to the party, Oh yes.
- Lime juice (2 whole limes)
- Demerara sugar
- Mint Leaves
- Your favourite rum (6 TSP)
- Juice some limes and then add in your favourite rum.
- Muddle some fresh mint leaves into your lime/rum mix.
- Make the pancakes as listed in the traditional method.
- Liberally shower your cooked crisp pancake with the demerara sugar. Make it rain rum and lime.
- Roll the pancake into a tube shape. You may drench and drizzle more sugar and lime if you wish. In fact, I recommend it!
- Stuff it into your face hole. Enjoy! Mmmmmmm. Boozy.
UK Pancake Recipe 3: Mango & Coconut sauce
The inspiration for this is the wonderful Thai dessert, Mango Sticky Rice ( kao niew mamuang). The pancake is spread with a sweet juicy mango compote before being rolled and drizzled with coconut sauce.
- 2 large fresh ripe mangos
- salt (1/2 TSP)
- cornflour ( 1 heaped TSP)
- coconut milk (230ml or 1 cup)
- Remove the mango skin and discard the stone. Chop the mango flesh into small chunks
- Mango Compote: In a saucepan add the mango, a sprinkle of sugar, and 3 TBS of water. Bring the pan to a low heat and cook the mango until it’s a soft compote. If the mango becomes dry add a tablespoon of water at a time to keep it moist. Set aside and keep warm.
- Coconut Sauce: Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan. Mix together cornflour with a little water: it should be lump free. Heat the coconut milk along with the cornflour slurry, salt and sugar on a medium heat until it’s thickened and slightly reduced. Set Aside and keep warm.
- Make your pancakes according to the traditional method listed above.
- Spread mango, generously, across the surface of the pancake and then roll up the pancake like an edible mango stuffed carpet.
- Drizzle coconut sauce over the top.
- Stuff it into your face hole or give it to another for them to stuff in their very own face hole. Enjoy!
UK Pancake recipe 4: Strawberry Jam
This one is very simple having only the one ingredient which is strawberry Jam or Strawberry Jelly. It’s included this, not only because it tastes good, but because this is a taste of my childhood. Alongside the traditional pancakes, we would sometimes have this.
- Strawberry Jam (or Jelly if you are American)
- Cook the pancakes found in the traditional recipe.
- Smear the hot pancake with sticky jam or jelly. Roll the pancake into a cigar shape.
- Place into face. Enjoy. You’re welcome.
UK Pancake Recipe 5: Mascarpone Cheese & Nutella
This was inspired by a dessert pizza I ate in Italy. I have no idea if it’s authentic or not but it was very tasty indeed. The soft creamy cheese works perfectly as a partner for the rich chocolate.
- Mascarpone cheese (6 TBS)
- Nutella or your fave chocolate spread (3 TBS)
- Mix very loosely the cheese and chocolate.
- Make the pancakes according to the traditional recipe.
- Spread the chocolate & cheese mixture over the warm pancake. As you do it will create a rich sauce.
- Roll the pancake into a tasty tubular creation.
- Eat that naughty bad boy.
- Forget all about calories.
BONUS (2021 ) Pancake day Recipe: Bacon Quesadilla Pancake
2021 updated bonus recipe! Changing it up with this savoury pancake inspired by Mexican flavour. The Bacon quesadilla pancake is the pancake you need in your life: featuring oozing Mexican spiced melted cheese and crispy bacon. It’s topped with fresh tomato salsa and finished with generous splashes of Cholula and Lime.
NOTE: Use the base pancake batter recipe from this article but use a little salt instead of sugar in the batter. Since this is a savoury pancake we don’t want sugar in it. Don’t put too much in though since the bacon is salty already. This recipe should make 4 savoury pancakes so use a quarter of the cheese/bacon for each one.
- Pack of streaky bacon (250g)
- Pack of grated cheese (250g)
- Bottle of Cholula ( or any other hot sauce you like )
- Chilli, taco, or any Mexican inspired seasoning
- 1 – 2 limes
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- 1 small onion
- Mix together the cheese & spices to your liking.
- Finely chop the tomatoes and onion and mix with a little salt and squeezes of lime to your taste. If you want the salsa spicy add a finely chopped red chilli into the mix.
- Fry your bacon then chop it into chunks when it’s cooked and crispy. Keep to one side while you cook your pancakes.
- In a heated oiled pan, Ladle in pancake batter mix (salted version) into the pan and fry until the batter is set and the bottom is just starting to brown. Flip the pancake and add cheese and broken up bits of bacon so it covered the whole disc.
- Wait for a little while the pancake is browned on the bottom. Maybe about 30 seconds but it will depend on your pan and heat. Fold the pancake in half and then lengthways so you have a folded triangular quarter. Flip the pancake.
- Cook until nicely golden browned and then flip again and repeat.
- Remove and plate up. Top with tomato salsa, Cholula, and a splash of lime.
- Enjoy in your face!
BONUS (2022 ) Pancake day Recipe: Taiwanese dan bing
Another year and another pancake recipe update; Because you can’t have too many pancakes, right? Even though it’s a UK pancake day there is still room for some international pancake! Dan Bing is a spring onion ( scallion ) pancake served for breakfast. There are a lot of variations to be found. This version keeps it simple but oh so good with just cheese and egg.
NOTE: It seems like there are two versions of this. One made with dough and one made with a simple batter. I went with the easy way! During my research I saw many types of sauce. I’ve no idea what is really used in Taiwan for dan bing. Maybe it depends on the region, vendor, or personal taste? So I went with some oyster sauce, little sugar, splash or soy sauce, and a little sweet chilli. If you know, I would love to hear from you in the comments.
This recipe is enough for one serving.
- 4 TBS of Flour ( self raising/all purpose )
- 2 TBS of Corn Starch
- 5 TBS water
- bunch of spring onion ( scallions )
- 1 large egg
- grated cheese of your choice
- salt ( a pinch )
- sauce ingredients as you wish
- Finely slice the onions
- Make a smooth batter with the flour and water
- Add a small pinch of salt
- Stir in onions
- Beat the egg
- Heat a well seasoned or non-stick pan on medium
- Add oil
- Pour in the batter and spread carefully
- Once the batter is dry on top very carefully flip
- Cook for a min or so on each side and flipping till done to your liking
- Remove the onion pancake to a warm plate
- Add more oil and heat
- Add the egg ensuring it’s a similar size/shape to the pancake
- Quickly add the cheese on top
- Once the cheese is added quickly place the pancake on top and press down
- Let the whole thing cook for a min or so
- Remove and roll
- Serve with the sauce of your choice.
- Enjoy it in your face!
The End of the UK Pancake day Road
“Just ’cause you pour syrup on something doesn’t make it pancakes.”–Samuel L. Jackson.
I sit here typing this with sticky fingers, a full belly, and flour on my face. In the immortal battle of man Vs pancakes, man won. My favourite pancake was The Mojito and also the Mango & coconut sauce pancakes. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the classic lemon and sugar though.
I hope this has given you some great pancake ideas. If you try any of the recipes, I would love to know what you think! What’s your favourite pancake? Please leave your thoughts, comments, and crazed ramblings below in the comment field.
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