Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, signifies the start of Lent, and was traditionally a time of fasting. As Pancake Day falls on the 47th day before Easter Sunday, the date varies from year to year. This year it will fall on 1st March.
As Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before beginning the Lent fast, people began the tradition of making pancakes, which have long been an entry in recipe books, going back as far as 1439. The tradition of tossing or flipping pancakes is almost as old, as this article called Pasquil’s Palin from the year 1619 shows:
“And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne.”
The pancake ingredients can be seen to symbolise these four points of significance:
Flour- The staff of life
Salt – Wholesomeness
Milk – Purity
Although the most traditional topping was lemon and sugar, there are way more interesting ones that have been created over the years:
Lemon and Sugar
The traditional ways still hold strong with the majority of households on pancake day and it seems lemon, sugar and butter are most people’s favourites. For the more adventurous there’s also lemonade- yes you heard correctly, lemonade. By combining 100g of icing sugar with 100ml of lemonade and gently mixing together you will create a lemon sensation of a pancake.
Bananas, blueberries and strawberries are a conventional combination, but you can turn them into something even more exotic with the addition of mango and papaya.
For those of you who don’t have a major sweet tooth, make it a nutty one. This topping works really well with banana and American-style pancakes. Take a handful of chopped pecan, walnut, brazil and hazelnuts and spread over the top. If you’re wanting a touch more sweetness, you can add a handful of blueberries, some dessicated coconut and a dollop of cream too.
This nutella, chocolate spread craze has gone wild over the past few years, but be warned, it’s not for the feint hearted. Take a spoonful of either spread and cover the top of the pancake whilst it’s hot, allowing it to soak through. Pretty sure if you asked 100 kids what their best toppings for pancake day are, at least 60 of them will say one of these spreads.
Of course we couldn’t leave without mentioning the favourite of our American friends- Maple syrup. Although they don’t celebrate Pancake Day, they have passed over the tradition of stacking pancakes and drizzling maple syrup over them. Great if you need a sugar rush.
So however you celebrate pancake day we hope you enjoy them.
We have lots more great recipes and food ideas in our Family Fun pages.