This is my family's old recipe for traditional English pancakes - served the way we like them in the Britain - with a squeeze of fresh lemon and sprinkled with sugar! Please note, that these are NOT thick pancakes, but thin and lacey - more like a French crepe. Scotch pancakes and Welsh cakes are also different - they are thicker, and belong to the family of griddle cakes, and drop scones. These are what we will be making and eating on Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day! The only accompaniment that is needed, is a fresh lemon or two and caster sugar.........some people have jam , honey or syrup with their pancakes, although that is not traditional! Now - how to TOSS that pancake without it landing on the floor, and will I WIN the Pancake race this year??!! A little information about this great British tradition: Origins -
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 Christians went to confession and were "shriven" (absolved from their sins). It was the last opportunity to use eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients.
Pancake Tradition - A thin, flat cake, made of batter and baked on a griddle or fried in a pan, the pancake has a very long history and featured in cookbooks 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).
Tossing pancakes -
Certainly these days part of the fun of cooking pancakes is in the tossing. To toss a pancake successfully takes a combination of the perfect pancake and good technique - it's so easy to get it wrong and end up with half the pancake still stuck to the pan while the other half is stuck to the ceiling or floor. All in all, it's probably best to practise a few times without an audience.
Pancake races -
In the UK, pancake races also form an important part of the Shrove Tuesday celebrations - an opportunity for large numbers of people to race down the streets tossing pancakes.
Mardi Gras -
The French name (literally "fat Tuesday" ) for Shrove Tuesday has been given to a number of Mardi Gras carnivals around the world. Among the most famous are those of Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans