Pancake Day, known around the world as Shrove Tuesday, falls on the day before Ash Wednesday every year, the first day of Lent. Pancake Day was originally a Pagan holiday in which eating pancakes on Shrovetide week was extremely important.
Here are ten fun facts that you are probably unaware of about Pancake Day:
1. The word ‘shrove’ is the past tense of ‘shrive’, meaning to hear a confession, impose a penance or give absolution. Shrove-tide was a week of confession and merriment before Lent.
2. “Short shrift” comes from the same verb: it was a quick confession before a criminal’s execution.
3. The Shrove Tuesday pancake race at Olney, Buckinghamshire has been run since 1445.
4. It is said to have started when a woman ran to church still holding a pan when her cooking was interrupted by the church’s shriving bell.
5. Shakespeare uses the simile “as fit as a pancake for Shrove Tuesday” in All’s Well That Ends Well.
6. The sales of Tate & Lyle golden syrup triple in the week of Shrove Tuesday.
7. The expression “as flat as a pancake” was first recorded in 1761 though “as flat down as pancakes” dates back at least to 1611.
8. The world record for pancake eating is fifty 3.25oz pancakes in ten minutes.
9. The world’s largest pancake was made in Manchester in 1994. It was 49ft 3in in diameter.
10. Australian chef Brad Jolly set a record in 2012 by tossing a pancake 140 times in a minute.
Now let’s get the eggs, milk, flour and pinch of salt and see what we can whisk up:
3 large free range eggs
125g plain flour
Unsalted butter for frying
Crack the eggs into a blender, add the flour, milk and 1 pinch of sea salt, and blitz until smooth. Pour into a bowl and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
Melt the butter (or a drizzle of oil if you want to be a bit healthier) in a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat, then tilt the pan so the butter coats the surface.
Pour in 1 ladle of batter and tilt again, so that the batter spreads all over the base, then cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it starts to come away from the sides. Once golden underneath, flip the pancake over and cook for 1 further minute, or until cooked through.
Serve straightaway with your favourite topping.
And here is a gluten free and egg free pancake mix ensuring that no-body misses out on this thousand year old tradition.
EGG-FREE & GLUTEN-FREE PANCAKES
125g plain gluten free flour (we like Dove’s)
Egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg (egg replacers are available from large supermarkets and health food shops. We use Orgran – 1 tsp mixed with 2 tbsps water as per box instructions – this is equivalent to one egg)
300ml milk (rice, oats and soya milk can be used)
Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the egg replacer and a quarter of the milk. Use an electric whisk to thoroughly combine the mixture. Pour in another quarter and whisk until lump free, then mix in the remaining milk. Leave to rest for 20 mins. Stir again before using.
Heat a small non-stick frying pan with a knob of butter Or dairy-free alternative). When the butter starts to foam, pour a small amount of the mixture into the pan and swirl around to coat the base – you want a thin layer. Cook for a few mins until golden brown on the bottom, then turn over and cook until golden on the other side. Repeat until you have used all the mixture, stirring the mixture between pancakes and adding more butter for frying as necessary.
Serve with orange segments and a drizzle of agave syrup or the pancake filling of choice.