It’s Pancake Day (AKA Shrove Tuesday), so let’s explore Our Whimsical World of pancakes!
What is Pancake Day, and who celebrates it?
Shrove Tuesday is a Christian tradition marking the eve of lent. On this day, before beginning 40 days of fasting, Christians would use up all of their eggs, milk and butter (amongst other things) in order to remove all edible temptations during lent. The best way of doing this was by making pancakes! A simple, indulgent and filling treat before the long fast. To read more about the detailed history of Shrove Tuesday, check out this blog post from English Heritage.
Despite it being a Christian tradition, it has now become an annual phenomenon with many people around the world marking the day with their own tasty creations. Let’s check some out!
Top 10 Pancakes Of The World
A recognisably thin pancake, the French crêpe is a national staple. Served as a breakfast or dessert in many-a-bistro in Paris, they can be served with many different toppings including jams and preserves, powdered sugar and honey. An equally iconic way of serving crêpes is to make a dish called ‘Crêpes Suzette’ – a boozy and zesty take on a classic – pancakes flambéed in an orange liqueur.
Traditionally a potato-based pancake which can be enjoyed sweet or savoury, Norwegian Lefse is a very versatile food. During a visit to a mountain farm near Åndalsnes, we were lucky enough to enjoy it freshly made, cooked on an open fire, served warm and deliciously smothered in cream cheese and cinnamon. Lefse is also commonly served as a savoury dish, rolled with smoked salmon and cream cheese like a Norwegian tortilla. Norway is very proud of their ‘magical wrap’, and you can read more about it here.
Japan: Cloud Pancakes
Also known as “Fluffy” or “Soufflé”, the Japanese Cloud Pancakes are in a league of their own when done right. As with a regular soufflé, the trick with these is to get the batter as light as possible and watch them rise to the heavenly clouds. Served with only a dusting of icing sugar, they are super soft and melt-in-your-mouth when cooked to perfection. Why not try making them yourself? This recipe from Oriental Mart is full of tips on how to get them nice and fluffy!
Germany: Bismark or ‘Dutch Baby’
Move over Yorkshire Puddings – the Dutch Baby is in town! Think of it as a giant Yorkie Pud but baked in butter, filled with fresh berries and topped with a dusting of icing sugar. Not convinced? Try it for yourself here.
Similar to the French crêpe, English folk traditionally serve their pancakes thin, topped with granulated sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. We have shared our recipe at the end of this article, just incase you fancy giving it a go!
USA: American Pancakes
Never a nation to shy away from the sweet stuff – the American style pancakes are often pictured in a huge stack, topped with a knob of melting butter and covered in lashings of syrup. Fruit, yoghurt, streaky bacon… these bad boys can be served with just about anything!
Canada: Buttermilk Pancakes with Maple Syrup
Typically served with lashings Canadian Maple Syrup, these soft, thick pancakes are often served as a sweet warm breakfast.
Similar to a Scotch Pancake, the pikelet is a small, thicker pancake, sweet in flavour and usually topped with strawberry jam and whipped cream. Think of it as an Aussie scone!
China: Mandarin Pancakes
As seen in many Chinese takeaways across the world, the ‘Crispy Duck Pancake’ has become a popular appetiser on menus across the world. The Mandarin pancake is simply made from flour and water, brushed in oil and fried to give it that iconic chewy texture. This texture allows the moist duck, spring onions and cucumber to be wrapped together perfectly without falling apart. The pancake itself may not be the star of the show, but the dish as a whole is a real winner!
Unlike most other pancakes, these doughy delights are spherical in shape. They are served warm, rolled in sugar and cinnamon. Just like hot dogs, you can pick them up from wagons dotted around most Danish cities – just follow your nose! I don’t know about you, but the very thought of these is making my mouth water!
How to make Classic English Pancakes – Our Reliable Recipe
110g Plain flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
200ml Milk mixed with 75ml cold water
1. Add the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and break the eggs into it. Whisk to combine.
2. Gradually add the milk and water mixture, whisking continuously. Whisk until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of single cream.
3. Melt the butter in a pan. Spoon 2 tbsp of it into the batter and whisk it in. Pour the rest into a bowl and use it to lightly grease the pan before you make each pancake.
4. Get a frying pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and do a test pancake. Use a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take only half a minute or so to cook. You can lift the edge with a spatula to see if it’s golden as it should be. Flip the pancake over to cook on the reverse side.
5. When ready, serve with your favourite topping and enjoy (my favourite is sugar and lemon juice)!
Which is your favourite pancake? What is your topping of choice? Come and join in the chat on our Facebook page or vote in our Instagram polls!
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