Historically pancakes were a way of using up various rich ingredients, like milk sugar and eggs, before the fasting season of the 40 days for Lent.
This tradition is said to have originated in Olney when a housewife who was making pancakes before church, forgot the time, and ran along to church carrying her frying pan, flipping her pancake!
Many villages and towns in England still celebrate Shrove Tuesday with pancake races. In Olney, a pancake race still takes place every Shrove Tuesday.
It seems the whole world loves pancakes in some shape or form, and we've all got our own favourite way of eating them.
I make a lot of pancakes throughout the year, as my family love them.
Traditionally in South Africa, we eat them with cinnamon sugar, which is mixed together and put in a sugar shaker and shaken over the pancakes before they are rolled up and then drizzled with syrup or honey. A squeeze of lemon is always added to give bite to the otherwise sweet pancake!
I use the same recipe I've been using for years...I no longer measure anything, but here are approximate measurements:
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
1 cup of milk
Some water to thin down
about 25ml of sunflower oil to stop it sticking in the pan
pinch of sea salt
Mix all ingredients together. It shouldn't be too thick or too runny. I use water because I don't want it too rich. If it's still too thick, add some more water. Leave the batter to rest for about 1/2 an hour. Heat your crepe pan with a little butter and a tiny splash of sunflower oil. Add just enough batter to cover the pan and when the edges start to crinkle you can pry away from the edges with a flat knife and then you can flip (if you're brave enough!) Turn over and fry until small golden brown spots appear on the bottom of your pancake. It's shouldn't be too brown and neither too pale!
Whether you like Nutella in your pancakes, cinnamon and sugar, or just plain sugar and lemon, pancakes are a quick way of bringing a smile to those hungry faces around your table!
Happy Pancake Day!