By Phillippa Spence
Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as it’s sometimes referred to, is the last day before lent fasting starts in the run-up to Easter.
In some cultures it’s also known as “Fat Tuesday”, which conjures up the image of the birthday breakfast sequence in the film “Uncle Buck”, in which a young Macaulay Culkin is faced with a table groaning under a stack of pancakes that would need a forklift to get them off the hot plate. As I child I thought that was what Pancake Day should be.
I love pancakes any time of the year. Of course, you can’t beat a wafer thin-but-soft crêpe-style pancake with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of crunchy caster sugar. I think the best results for perfect crêpes come from using a non-stick frying pan and a little knob of butter, and making sure you swirl just enough batter around the pan for an even finish. Take your time and have a bit of a practice – the first two (or three) usually don’t work too well, so just persevere.
If you want something a bit more hearty, try Jamie’s one-cup recipe – you can top it with whatever you fancy. Simple fry-and-flip enjoyment is pretty perfect for Shrove Tuesday, but if you’re looking for excitement, these pancake hybrids take it to another level.
Kaiserschmarrn (the dessert legacy of Kaiser Franz Joseph of Austria that literally translates to Emperor Folly) is a little bit soufflé but more of a pancake. It’s made by whisking egg whites into the batter along with a little dried fruit or bashed-up chocolate if you’re feeling naughty. You cook it in the oven, where it rises like a pillow, and then divide it into strips with a fork. My first taste of this was in an ancient timber hut, nestled high up in the Austrian Tyrol. Served up by a lady in an edelweiss-patterned pinny, a steaming icing sugar-covered mountain of Kaiserschmarrn was devoured in seconds by a hungry hoard along with a big bowl of apple sauce (and my first shot of Schnapps) By George, it’s brilliant!
Another supercharged version of pancakes is Jamie’s epic griddle-pan waffles, a great recipe that requires no fancy gear. You literally pour the batter onto a hot griddle, flip it and share – they easily feed 4-6 in one go! They work beautifully with crispy bacon and maple syrup, or berries and yoghurt, but I’m partial to them with an orangey crepe suzette-style sauce and a dollop of good vanilla ice cream.
Let us know you’re favourites too – there are so many options, so when it comes to the day, maybe try something a bit different Scotch pancakes, or bring some joy to a wheat-intolerant friend’s day with some buckwheat pancakes. Or make an entire cake with some…
Whatever you cook, just get stuck in and happy flipping!