Today is Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Tuesday. What was originally known as the day for purging the pantry before the beginning of Lent is now known to many as a day to stuff as many pancakes into your face as you can.
But why are pancakes the food of choice? Pancakes are made out of sugar, fat, flour and eggs – the foods traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting of Lent. The forty days of fasting begins tomorrow on Ash Wednesday but for today, we feast on pancakes.
I try to always cook up a batch of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, as I love any excuse to eat a pancake. I’d eat them on a weekly basis if my waistline could get away with it (alas, it can’t.) One of my favourite things about pancakes is just how versatile they are – pancakes are equally delicious served sweet with lemon and sugar, or savory with cheese and ham.
I have so many great food memories associated with pancakes – pancake dinners as a child, indulgent pancake breakfasts with friends in my uni days – but today, I’m sharing a story about Mr B, the man who created one of my most used pancake recipes. Many years ago I was on a camping trip with friends and Mr B was part of the camping party (no, we weren’t dating then.) After a barbecue dinner we were sitting around a campfire and Mr B just casually started whipping up these pancakes for everyone, using just a little pan and a small gas cooker. Served with a little butter and golden syrup, these pancakes were light and thin, with crispy golden edges, and utterly moreish. And Mr B was able to flip them over using just the pan, just like they do in the movies. Let’s just say I took notice (and was a teeny bit impressed)… though at the time I would have never guessed I would end up marrying the guy three years later…
The title of this post is what we call Mr B’s pancake recipe at Casa B. Some people would label Mr B’s pancakes as crepes, he firmly adheres to calling them pancakes. Whatever you call them, they are super simple to make and super easy to eat. They are now my go-to recipe for pancake making, and I’ve even learnt how to flip them in the pan, just like Mr B. Sweet or savory, we’ll be scoffing these lovely pancakes down this Shrove Tuesday.
MR B’S PANCAKES, CREPES…WHATEVER.
- 1 cup plain flour
- About 1 cup milk (be prepared to add more)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (a pinch)
- 1 egg
- Butter, to melt in your pan
- Your favourite pancake condiments, to serve
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until you get a smooth, runny batter. You may need to add more milk if it’s still a bit chunky – you don’t want it to be lumpy. Let the mixture stand while you get your pan nice and hot, hot enough to have a little knob of butter sizzle and melt once it hits the pan. Once the pan is hot, ladle some of your mixture into the hot, buttered pan and swirl around in the pan to make the pancake nice and thin. When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, flip the pancake over, either using an egg flip or some fancy pan-flipping skills. Allow the uncooked side to brown (it should take about 30 seconds to a minute, depending on the heat of your pan) and then serve with your favourite pancake condiments. We both love lemon juice and sugar, or either maple syrup or golden syrup as a sweet option. But really, what you top your pancakes with is only limited by your imagination.