EGGS and flour at the ready – today is Pancake Day.
The annual Shrove Tuesday celebration marks the eve of Lent and traditionally meant eating up all our rich and indulgent foods before 40 days of fasting.
Brits will eat 117million pancakes tomorrow as we celebrate Pancake DayCredit: Getty
It may be an old Christian custom but to this day we still rise to the challenge, getting ourselves in a flipping frenzy as we attempt to master the perfect pancake.
To celebrate the occasion, allow us to batter you with some Shrove Tuesday facts, while MasterChef co-host Gregg Wallace throws some inspirational pancake topping ideas into the mix.
- 1 WHEN IS PANCAKE DAY?
- 2 WHY DO WE CELEBRATE PANCAKE DAY?
- 3 WHAT ARE PANCAKE RACES?
- 4 HOW MANY DO WE EAT?
- 5 WHAT ARE THEY MADE OF?
- 6 And here’s some tasty toppings to try
- 7 SMOKED SALMON & SOUR CREAM
- 8 PESTO & GOAT’S CHEESE
- 9 GREEK YOGHURT, FIG & HONEY
- 10 ALMOND BUTTER & BANANA
- 11 TOMATO, CHEESE & SPINACH
WHEN IS PANCAKE DAY?
Today is the last day before the start of Lent — a religious season in the Christian calendar which culminates in Easter.
The date changes every year depending on when Easter falls but as Easter is always a Sunday, Pancake Day is always a Tuesday.
WHY DO WE CELEBRATE PANCAKE DAY?
The word “shrove” is a form of the English word “shrive”, which means to obtain absolution for sins by way of confession and penance.
It was traditionally seen as a chance to indulge before Lent, and pancakes were eaten to use up rich foods such as eggs and milk.
The 40 days of Lent, which starts on Ash Wednesday, aims to mirror the 40 days Jesus fasted for in the desert, enduring temptation by the devil.
With the bleak prospect of a long fast looming, Shrove Tuesday became an occasion to gorge ourselves.
In France, it is know as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday — something which has been adopted by other countries including the US.
WHAT ARE PANCAKE RACES?
As well as making and eating pancakes, Brits love to race with them — when people run as they flip their pancakes in a pan.
Legend has it the tradition was born in the 15th Century when a woman in Buckinghamshire rushed to church to confess her sins while midway through making pancakes.
As well as making and eating pancakes, Brits love to race with them — when people run as they flip their pancakes in a panCredit: PA:Press Association
HOW MANY DO WE EAT?
On average we eat two each, which means we munch through a staggering 117million pancakes in just one day.
This requires enough milk to fill more than 93 Olympic swimming pools and almost 13million kilos of plain flour.
WHAT ARE THEY MADE OF?
The earliest type of pancakes was made 12,000 years ago and was created with a concoction of grains and nuts, mixed with water or milk and then cooked on hot stones.
Today, basic recipes include three key ingredients: Flour, eggs and milk. The most popular topping is lemon and sugar, followed by maple syrup.
Here, Gregg Wallace shares his basic pancake recipe, and below he suggests some delicious alternative toppings to try:
125g (4½oz) plain flour
125ml (4fl oz) milk
125ml (4fl oz) water
¼ tspn salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
Sunflower oil, for frying
METHOD: Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, add the eggs then whisk.
Now add the milk and water, stirring to combine.
Add the salt and butter, then mix again until smooth. Transfer the batter to a jug and set aside. Put a drizzle of oil into a frying pan over a medium-high heat.
When hot, tilt the pan to spread the oil around, then pour in a little batter.
Gently tilt the pan again so the batter coats the surface thinly and evenly. You will be making six pancakes with these ingredients, so don’t be too generous.
Cook the crepe for about two minutes, until the underside is a nice golden-brown colour. Loosen with a spatula, flip it over and cook the other side for two minutes.
Place on a plate and keep warm. Cook the rest of the pancakes the same way, placing greaseproof paper between them to prevent them sticking together.
MasterChef star Gregg Wallace shares his pancake recipe
lWE use up an unbelievable 52million eggs on Pancake Day – that is 22million more than any other day.
lThe largest pancake ever was served in Rochdale in August 1994, according to Guinness World Records. It measured a whopping 49ft 3in and was 1in deep.
l American Mike Cuzzacrea ran a marathon in three hours, two minutes and 27 seconds in October 1999, while tossing pancakes continuously.
l The Guinness World Record for the most tosses of a pancake in one minute is held by Australian Brad Jolly, who managed 140 in Sydney in 2012.
l The Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel’s Opus One restaurant in Manchester created the most expensive pancake in the world. Made in 2014, it would have set you back £800 and came with lobster, caviar and champers.
And here’s some tasty toppings to try
WE all want to enjoy Pancake Day – and there are so many nutritious options for you to enjoy. Give some of these healthy ideas a try, all to serve with four pancakes.
SMOKED SALMON & SOUR CREAM
Gregg’s smoked salmon and sour cream topping is delicious and easy to makeCredit: Shutterstock
150g salmon, chopped
4 tbsp sour cream
2 tbs chopped dill
Squeeze of 1 lemon
METHOD: Add sour cream to a bowl and stir well. Add chopped dill and a squeeze of a whole lemon. Then gently mix in the smoked salmon.
PESTO & GOAT’S CHEESE
4 tbsp pesto
150g soft goat’s cheese
Handful of basil
METHOD: Spread a tbsp of pesto over each pancake. Crumble goat’s cheese all over and sprinkle with basil.
GREEK YOGHURT, FIG & HONEY
4 large fresh figs
100g Greek yoghurt
Zest of 1 orange
METHOD: Dollop yoghurt all over a pancake and add one chopped fig. Grate over the orange zest and a drizzle of honey.
ALMOND BUTTER & BANANA
4 tbsp almond butter
100g dark chocolate
METHOD: Take one banana and mash with a fork until soft.
Spread the base of pancake with almond butter, top with mashed banana and then finish off with grated dark chocolate.
TOMATO, CHEESE & SPINACH
Gregg’s tomato, cheese and spinach topping is healthy and tastyCredit: Shutterstock
4 tbsp mozzarella
200g cooked and well drained spinach leaves
50g sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
METHOD: Spread cooked spinach leaves on to the pancake, followed by sun-dried tomatoes, and sprinkle over grated mozzarella or cheddar. Put under a hot grill for a couple of minutes until cheese has melted.