About Pancake Day
Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.
Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Ango-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins). A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the “Pancake Bell” and is still rung today.
Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year. This year Shrove Tuesday is 5th March.
Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients.
The pancake has a very long history and has featured in cookery books as far back as 1439. The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old: “And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne” (Pasquil’s Palin, 1619).
The ingredients for pancakes can be seen to symbolise four points of significance at this time of year:
Eggs ~ Creation
Flour ~ The staff of life
Salt ~ Wholesomeness
Milk ~ Purity
For some interesting alternatives, check out some of our versions below.
Prep: 5 mins, Cook: 5 mins, Makes: 4
- 1 large banana
- 2 eggs beaten
- Pinch of baking powder (gluten free if coeliac)
- Splash of vanilla extract
- 1 tsp oil
- In a bowl, mash 1 large banana with a fork
- until it resembles a thick purée.
- Stir in 2 beaten eggs, baking powder and
- vanilla extract.
Prep: 5 mins, Cook: 25 mins with resting, Makes: 6 small pancakes
- 125g gluten free plain flour
- egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg
- 250ml dairy free milk
- 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, then beat in another quarter of the milk. Once lump free, pour
in the remaining milk.
- Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
- Stir again before using.
Spinach Protein Pancakes
Prep:15 mins, Cook: 20 mins, Makes: 12
- 284ml pot of buttermik
- 1 egg beaten
- 2 poached eggs per person to serve (optional)
- 200g spinach
- 175g buckwheat flour
- 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch of paprika
- Boil the kettle and put the buttermilk and beaten egg in a food processor.
- Put the spinach in a colander and pour over boiling water to wilt. Squeeze out any excess water, add to the processor and blitz to a smooth purée.
- Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and gradually mix in the purée.
Dairy Free Pancakes
Prep: 5 mins, Cook: 25 mins with resting, Makes: 8 small pancakes
- 125g plain flour
- 1 egg
- 300ml dairy free milk
- Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the egg in the middle and pour in a quarter of the milk.
- Use an electric or balloon whisk to thoroughly combine the mixture. Once you
have a paste, mix in another quarter of milk. Once lump free, mix in the remaining milk.
- Leave to rest for 20 minutes. Stir again before using.