Monday, February 23, 2009

Pancake Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday.

Pancake Tuesday, as it is known in Blighty, also Shrove Tuesday as it is the day on which one confesses one's multitudinous sins before the beginning of Lent. Also the day when you decide to deprive yourself of 'luxury' foods for the next 46 days, eggs and butter constituting 'luxury', thus Pancake Tuesday was born to use up the remaining butter and eggs, of course with the addition of flour.
In Britain many pancake races (here's a link to the pancake races in London 2012) are held on, yes, Pancake Tuesday......a race open to women over 16 who must wear a cap and apron and run 415 yards (who chose that number I wonder?) whilst tossing their pancakes at least three times. Dropping your pancake means instant disqualification.
British pancakes are what Americans would call crepes...they are very thin and light and crepe like. Growing up we always had two sorts of toppings on our pancakes (and yes we always did have pancakes on Pancake Tuesday).....jam (how very Eddie Izzard!) and the very Brit lemon and butter, by which James is horrified! I have Americanized my lemon and butter with the excellent addition of maple syrup....lemon and maple is a truly great combination.

I use Jooolia's French cooking crepes recipe for my pancakes...and no I don't run in races with them. For some unknown reason my pancakes would not toss this time...I am usually very good at flipping a pancake.....not today....must be something to do with all the snow we have!!
3/4 cup of cold whole milk
3/4 cup cold water
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla essence (Joolia uses 3 tablespoons rum, brandy or orange liqueur but that doesn't work for Pancake Tuesday pancakes)
1 cup of flour, scooped and levelled
5 tablespoons of melted butter
THE METHOD.....bone achingly all the ingredients in the jar of a blender in the order they are listed and blend at high speed for one minute. Scrape down any flour on the sides of the jar and blend again for 3, not 4, seconds. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours and preferably overnight.
For each pancake I used about 3 tablespoons of batter, I let them cook on medium high heat with just a glimmer of butter to grease the pan, preferably a copper crepe pan, for about 2 minutes on the first side 'til browned on the edges and they come free of the pan when shaken, not stirred, laterally. I attempted to flip today and failed miserably so I loosened the edges with a sharp knife and persuaded the unwilling pancake to flip over with a spatula.....I cooked them on the other side for about one minute then I shimmied them onto a plate knee deep in granulated sugar...for the jam ones I placed about 1 tablespoon of Bonne Maman cherry preserves in a strip in the centre of the pancake and rolled it up into a tube the way my Mum did, and for the lemon ones I dotted with butter, squeezed lemon on the butter (a Meyer lemon if you can get one, so much more fragrant and juicier) and folded into quarters then sprinkled both types with a bit more sugar...ta dah!!!...Pancake Tuesday pancakes...and delicious they were too. I have some batter left so I can have more tomorrow on the correct day.
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