shrove tuesday pancakes: three ways

March 7, 2011

[photo source:  Delish]

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday and that makes me a wee bit giddy. It became known as Pancake Day to us Brits because of the English habit of using up all the eggs, butter and milk in the house on Shrove Tuesday before the 40 long days of Lent.

For most people it’s now simply a good excuse to indulge in a feast of pancakes. Good enough for me!

If you’re wondering what that picture is about, let me enlighten you. It’s a pancake race. The tradition started hundreds of years ago with contestants, traditionally women, carrying a frying pan and racing to the finishing line while tossing the pancakes as they go. The winner is the first to cross the line having tossed the pancake a certain number of times. Traditionally, when men want to participate, they must dress up as a housewife (usually in an apron and a bandanna). Weird? Yes. Kind of awesome? Indeed.

Whether you call it Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras; it’s a great excuse for some splurging before the austerity of Lent.

English Pancakes

Typical English pancakes resemble crepes more than the traditional American pancake. They’re a thin, papery affair and taste perfect with slightly crispy edges, rolled up and drizzled with fresh lemon juice and a shake of white sugar. That’s how we always had them growing up at home. It’s the classic.

But who doesn’t love a bit of variety, eh? Shake things up a bit, be a bit cheeky? So, instead of presenting you with one serving suggestion, I give you three. I plan on making all of them for Dan and I to glut-out on.

1. Lemon and Sugar

[photo source: The Guardian]

Simply squeeze fresh lemon juice all over your pancake and dust with granulated sugar. Roll up the pancake and repeat.

2. Nutella and Banana

[photo source: gluttony is a bliss]

Spread nutella inside the pancake and fill with sliced banana. Roll up and drizzle the outside with more nutella. Dust with powdered sugar.

3. Spiced Caramelised Apple with Vanilla Ice Cream

[photo source: The Guardian]

Fry some slices of apple with a little butter, soft brown sugar and cinnamon until soft and caramelised. Put a spoonful of hot apple in the middle of a pancake, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and dig in.


You can find a great basic English pancake recipe here.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

minneville March 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

What a coincidence. I just looked for something online yesterday and found out what Easter egg is about. Now that I’m learning more about food tradition of Lent. Great!


alice March 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm

ITS MY FAVOURITE DAY OF THE YEAR! I am so excited for tomorrow!!! its all about the traditional lemon and sugar! xx


Angharad March 8, 2011 at 10:52 am

Have to say I’m with you, Alice! Lemon and sugar all the way.


Holly March 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm

god, i love england.

and scandal.

did you read about the duke of york’s latest shenanigans with teenage prostitutes and gaddafi? so good, but yet so bad.

finally emailed youuuuu!!!


Ronda March 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

My husband and I started celebrating Shrove Tuesday as Pancake Day after visiting London in 2007. I won’t be making traditional English pancakes today, instead I am making what my family calls Finnish Pancakes. They are much like a Dutch pancake, all puffy and yet tender in the middle. I will be having lemon and sugar on it however, well at least part of it…


Angharad March 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Ronda, they sound so wonderful! I just saw a recipe for some Finnish Pancakes today and they looked divine – hope you enjoyed!


Grace March 9, 2011 at 11:06 am

I love England too. It’s funny how your posts from America make me love England more even though I get to live here. I had pancakes last night (obviously) and did a whammy of different toppings. Now I’m usually a trad lemon and sugar kind of girl, but I was at a friends house and they put jam, nutella, peanut butter and lemon curd on the table so I was obliged to try them all in different combinations, and I can reveal that nutella and peanut butter with a bit of vanilla yoghurt on the side (and sprinkled with toasted almond flakes) is my new second favourite way to eat a pancake. Lemon and sugar just can’t be beaten!
My poor boyfriend missed all of this as he was working so we’re just going to have to celebrate pancake day all over again tonight, hooray!!!


Angharad March 9, 2011 at 11:20 am

Oh gosh, Grace! I wish I was there. Nutella + peanut butter + toasted almond flakes sounds ridiculously good. Stupidly, Dan and I ended not making pancakes because we were both too depressed after watching Arsenal go out of the Champion’s League…so we’ll be celebrating tonight too!


Beverly Kuhn February 21, 2012 at 10:15 am

Thanks for the wonderful lesson and recipe! Will try it this evening. Shared it with my sister who is a minister at a Methodist church in North Carolina with Moravian origins. They celebrate Shrove Tuesday with pancakes as well!



sofia February 21, 2012 at 10:32 am

how did i never know about shrove tuesday? love that picture of the pancake ladies battlin’ it out. and now i want british-style pancakes. mmm.


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