Everybody has some fierce connection to pancakes. There’s something about the unity that Shrove Tuesday gives you that allows no shame in the consumption in any and all forms of pancakes. I know it has connections to religion, or more specifically the confessional tradition of Lent, however I see no reason why any form of fried batter should not be enjoyed by all – faith or no faith. It’s almost like the antidote to Valentine’s Day really, isn’t it? A day that precedes the day of love in order to fill yourself with pancakes, even if you’re single. With that in mind, it could be argued that it’s a day for more love shown than ever!
Pancake Day was always celebrated in my house growing up. Without fail. My mother would make several stacks of pancakes that would be piled on our yellow and peach rimmed plates to be snatched at throughout the day. She would also stock the accompaniments – lemon juice, sugar, different variations of cream, syrups, fruit, icing sugar, Nutella, I could go on – all of which were placed within an arm’s reach of the pancakes to decorate your doughy skyscraper.
It was almost military precision in the way my mother would cook – or fry – them, however we would all have a turn in flipping the pancake in its pan, a skill within itself. It also became standard that she would try and photograph us mid-flip – suffice to say there are many a picture of myself as a kid with a questionable facial expression whilst trying to successfully flip the pancake. Seldom was I successful, but the taste was great nonetheless.
I tend to opt more for the American style pancakes. I don’t go down the American route and eat them with crispy bacon – however I’m not above this – but as they are smaller in boundary, I reason with myself that I can eat more. It’s a terrible logic but who cares? You get to eat more pancakes, any reason for that is reason enough in my eyes.
Make some buttermilk by adding a small shot glass of lemon juice or cider vinegar to 250ml of milk and allow to stand. Meanwhile, in a blender (not a food processor, but an actual blender) add a tablespoon of baking powder, a teaspoon of white sugar, a small stick of butter, 200g plain flour, a pinch of smoked sea salt and two eggs. Now add the buttermilk and flip a switch. If you’re a juicer, which I am most definitely not, use a juice blender. They make the smoothest pancake batter.
Now heat a heavy based pan or griddle to a high temperature. Start pouring the pancake batter straight from the blender into the pan. You want to pour as close to the pan as possible in order to control the pouring diameter but if we’re talking direct, you want to look at a span of about 9-10 centimetres. Allow it to sizzle and bubble – but only for a few seconds because as soon as you see the sides curling roughly, it’s time to flip.
With these pancakes, don’t do as you would normally do and flip by lifting the pan and flicking with a wrist as they’re spongier and more like to stick so that trick just won’t fly with this batter. Literally… they won’t fly. You’ll need some sort of spatula to slide underneath and with a quick Jack Daniels sleight of hand, flip them over and give them a few mere seconds to fry on the other side before moving to side plate to cool.
Keep doing this until you have finished your batter and depending on the size of your little cakes, you should get roughly 15 pancakes out of them. As I said before, stack them high and smother them in whatever sinful filth you love. Don’t forget, this day was designed as an acceptable sin day so that you could get rid of all stodgy items in your cupboard prior to Lent so don’t feel any type of way for your addition of choice to the cakes. Personally, I chose a vicious squirt of Alaskan maple syrup followed by a powdery dusting of icing sugar.
And don’t judge me by the above picture – I did not eat them all to myself. However, I’d be lying only to myself if I said I wasn’t capable of eating them as a solo operation. You may not be religious but if Lent is for giving up, Pancake Day can be for giving in. Pray to the Church of Pancake and let it capture your spirit. Amen.