Back up a bit now. When are the pancakes coming in the mail?
– Homer Simpson
Yesterday was Pancake Day in England, and Chez D’oh. Shrove Tuesday is better known in much of the world as a last-ditch party before Lent, but in the U.K., it’s a chance to cosy up with some carbs.
If you are North American, these may not look like pancakes as you know them. British pancakes are what we’d call a crepe. The traditional Pancake Day version is so yummy, it really should happen more than once a year.
When the Kev and I wed, I decided to learn
his strange ways some British recipes, especially those connected with holidays. English holidays and seasons each seem to have very specific recipes–parkin, cinder toffee, Christmas cake, hot cross buns, and so forth. Other than Thanksgiving, holiday foods aren’t quite as definite in the states. Sure, you might have fruitcake at Christmas, but more likely a chocolate cake or a pie or cookies (or all of those). Some years, therefore, baking holidays sneak up on me, like last Easter morning when I sat bolt upright in bed and shouted:
“Oh, crap–it’s another holiday involving a baked good!”
My point is, there have been many last-minute shopping runs to keep up! Of course, I should emphasize that none of this is Kev-based pressure–I’m the one wanting to observe English traditions. He has never been one to sit around in his skivvies demanding calendar-based baked goods. Yet.
Whether you are an Anglophile or not, you should try these pancakes at any time of year. They are easy and delicious! We use Delia Smith’s recipe but there are many options, here, here, and here, for instance (note to American cooks: caster sugar is granulated sugar, more or less).
As long as you have a good basic recipe, the killer aspect is what you do with them out of the pan. Smear them with butter, sprinkle them with sugar, then squeeze a lemon wedge over the top. Roll the whole business up, and…
Every year, we say, “Why don’t we do this more often?” Other than the calories, there’s no good reason. The lemon keeps it from being too heavy or sweet–the whole thing is made of yum.
Put a little English tradition into your life!