Before the Lenten fast...
It's Shrove Tuesday and that can only mean one thing... pancakes! The word "shrove" is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and doing penance. A way to show penance is by fasting and fighting temptation. Many foods such as eggs, sugar and dairy produce are considered 'tempting' and given up during Lent. Luckily, if you combine these naughty treats you get pancakes, which have become synonymous with the day, hence most of us now celebrate Pancake Day.
British pancakes are often unleavened and closely resemble the French crepe, but we made those last year! So it's "Hello U.S.A.". Tonight we've opted for American-style Buttermilk Pancakes (by an Australian chef, who presents British Masterchef, John Torode!).
These fluffy, buttery pillows of yumminess could not be easier to make. In one bowl mix together your dry ingredients. In a jug, mix your wet ingredients (including the melted butter). Combine to form a thick batter. It will look lumpy, but do not fear, a gentle mix with a whisk will bring it together, just don't overwork it. Leave to rest for a couple of minutes whilst you heat up your pan.
Ladle or spoon the mix into a lightly oiled non-stick pan. The mix will spread a little so you may have to try a couple of times to get your sizing as you would like. We opted for small pancakes and cooked two at a time. After a minute or so bubbles will have formed on the surface and the edges will dull. Flip and cook for a further 30 seconds or until brown.
Keep warm in a low oven whilst you make the rest. Be warned. Serves six means 24 pancakes of approximately 3" or 8cm diameter. But don't worry, you can freeze your leftovers!
We served ours as a main course with soft and gooey scrambled eggs, crisp streaky bacon and lashings of real maple syrup. For dessert we made classic sugar and lemon (with retro squeezy juice of course!) and the modern classic, banana and chocolate nut spread (we'd prepared our chocolate, hazelnut and almond spread for this very purpose, but you can just use Nutella).
However you choose to spend Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day, just remember that pancakes are quick and easy all year-round treat and a sure to satisfy almost any palette, savoury or sweet.