Written by Charlotte Beddows – Business Development Executive
Pancake Day is another name for Shrove Tuesday. It is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent and the lead up to Easter. It is traditionally celebrated by eating pancakes.
What is a pancake?
Well that depends on who you ask! Here in the UK, pancakes are large and thin, resembling a crêpe. In the USA, they add baking powder to create a thick, fluffy pancake. They are made in a frying pan, hence the name!
Why do we eat pancakes?
We eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday as it was thought of as the best way to use up the last things in your cupboard before Lent. (Lent is a period of about six weeks before Easter. It is a time in which Christians are supposed to be quiet and thoughtful, preparing themselves for Easter and it begins on Ash Wednesday.)
In the past the idea was for families to clear out their cupboards, removing certain foods such as eggs and butter as they were not allowed to be eaten during Lent (along with all other animal products) so they would have been eaten up on Shrove Tuesday (the last day before Lent) and what better way to do this than “knock up” a quick pancake. The famous pancake features in cookbooks even as far back as the year 1439!
- The Guinness World Record for the most pancakes served in 8 hours by a team is 34,818.
- The annual pancake race in Olney, Buckinghamshire, dates back to 1454.
- In Britain, we eat enough pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to fill 93 Olympic-size swimming pools of milk and around 52 million eggs are used, which is 22 million more than usual.
- One pancake fan ran a marathon while continually tossing a pancake for three hours, two minutes and twenty seven seconds.
- The most people flipping pancakes is 890 and was achieved at an event organised by the University of Sheffield, UK in 2012.
- The World’s biggest pancake was cooked in Rochdale (Greater Manchester) in 1994, which was 15 metres in diameter, weighed three tonnes and had an estimated two million calories.
- According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “flat as a pancake”, has been a catchphrase since at least 1611 and is still used in the English language today as a common simile.
- The world’s most expensive pancake was made at Opus in Manchester costing over £1000! For that you got a taste of edible gold leaf, finest champagne and a helping of wobbly jelly.
An easy step by step pancake recipe.
If you want to cook pancakes for yourself here is a super easy recipe for you to follow.
- 100g plain flour
- 2 large eggs
- 300ml milk
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp of sunflower oil (and a little for frying)
- Mix together 100g plain flour, 2 large eggs, 300ml milk, 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil and a pinch of salt
- into a bowl and whisk into a smooth batter.
- Put a frying pan on a medium heat and add a little sunflower oil.
- When hot, add just enough of the batter mix to make a thin layer covering the whole frying pan.
- Cook for 1 minute on each side until golden brown.
It’s as simple as that! The question is, what to serve them with?!
The traditional toppings in the UK are a sprinkling of sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice but nowadays, people are being much more adventurous with their pancake toppings.
A few UKEC Academy favourites are:
Lemon juice and sugar (the classic!)
Nutella (chocolate spread) and banana
Maple syrup/ golden syrup
Fruit and yoghurt
Smoked salmon and blue cheese
Ham and cheddar cheese
Whatever your preference, be sure to share your favourite toppings with us!