Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Happy Pancake Tuesday everyone

Today is the day we call Pancake Tuesday in our house.

It's one of the few remnants of religious holidays that we celibate in our house. This is a modern day version of food traditions that go back several thousand years in Europe.

This time of year (going by the lunar calendar) is the end of winter. In much of Europe, new shoots are starting to show themselves and there is enough fresh food available to get by on. The larders are almost bare, but there should be some apples, but more likely quince or meddlers, some dried fruit, some flour and lots of eggs. The chickens have just started laying like crazy a few days ago, as opposed to the sporadic efforts to give us eggs during the darkest months.

In much of Europe, there is a tradition of making a heavy, egg based bread, often with dried fruit and lots of fat. Hot cross buns are a rather yummy, modern equivalent.

Also in parts of Europe, during different times in history, the use of ovens was strictly regulated (land owner also owned the oven and the farmers had to pay to use it). Most of the cooking was done in a pot or a pan. So if you say, wanted to make a cake in a pan, you could make it a bit runny and then, presto, you have a pancake.

An over simplified, over romanticized explanation of why we tend to eat pancakes this time of year.

How Pancakes have become associated with Shrove Tuesday? I just figured that the Church new a good thing when it saw it, and adopted many of the yummy food traditions.

We eat English pancakes in our household. Although, I've discovered that what the term English Pancake means, depends on where in the UK your family is from. This is what we enjoy:

English pancakes
2 cups of flour
2 eggs
2 and 1/2 cup of milk.

makes enough for 4 to 6 very hungry people.
  • Beat together with a fork until there are only small lumps of flour left in the batter. It should be quite runny.
  • Heat up a fry (or crape) pan, cast iron is best. You need to grease or oil the pan. It's a bit hot for olive oil, so grapeseed oil is a good choice if you are going for healthy. Lard works best, but many people don't like to use it.
  • Poor enough of the batter onto the pan to just about cover it in a thinnish layer. Note, this is going to look like a crape, but be several times thicker.
  • When the air bubbles in the batter pop and don't close up again, it's time to flip the pancake. Sorry, I cannot help you there, it's the tricky part.
  • Cook the other side briefly and plate.
Now for the important part: sprinkle a good tablespoon of sugar on top of the pancake. Poor lemon juice on top, enough to soak into the sugar. The heat of the pancake somehow makes the sugar and lemon syrupy. It's very yummy! Roll up the pancake into a tube, and eat with a spoon (or knife and fork).

Oh, and if you have a diabetic in the house, may I recommend some extra protein to balance the carbs and sugars. Bacon or sausages go very nicely with pancakes. And for a more complete meal, some OJ or fruit help. But a pineapple for desert would be the best. All those lovely enzymes helping digest the fried foods. Perfect!

Happy Pancake Tuesday Everyone. What a wonderful excuse to eat pancakes for dinner.

1 comment:

Josiane said...

It's been forever since I've had pancakes for dinner! (Though in our house it was actually crepes; pancakes aren't really part of our culture over here... and mom makes amazing crepes!) My gentleman friend doesn't believe in pancakes for dinner, but I bet he wouldn't complain if I did that once in a while!