Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as it’s often called now, is a traditional Christian feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.
In the past, it was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before giving them up for Lent, and pancakes are the perfect way to do this. This year, Pancake Day falls on 16th February, which is in half-term for most kids. If your kids are still in school, why not check to see if their teacher has anything planned to learn about the day. Either way, because of lockdown, at least there’s no way they can mess up their school uniform this year!
We might not give up all these foods for Lent nowadays, but pancakes are great way to get the kids involved in cooking as they’re really easy to make. Here’s a basic recipe and some other ideas for you to try for a perfect pancake.
Basic pancake batter recipe (makes about 14)
100g plain flour
Oil or butter for frying
- Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Add in the two eggs into the well with a little of the milk.
- Using a whisk slowly start mixing together into a smooth batter, adding a little more milk at a time until it’s the consistency of single cream.
- Heat a shallow frying pan over a medium heat and add a little oil or butter.
- Using a ladle, pour some batter into the pan, swirling it around for a thin, even layer. Leave to cook for about 30 seconds until it looks set, then using a palette knife, slide underneath and flip over (or if you’re really brave, toss the pancake!) Cook for another 30 seconds before turning out onto a warm plate.
- Keep going with the remaining batter and either serve them as you cook or stack on to a plate warmed in the oven.
The first pancake out is often a bit wonky, so enjoy it as your chef’s treat. Children can help with the batter as there’s no sharp instruments needed, and older kids can always help with chopping up any toppings.
Mix it up
The great thing about pancakes is you can top them with so many different foods. You could set up a buffet station and let the kids make their own weird and wonderful combinations.
Along with the traditional lemon and orange wedges, sugar and golden syrup, chop up some fresh fruits, such as bananas or strawberries and of course most kids love a bit of chocolate spread and marshmallows.
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you could top with cheese and ham, or spinach and mushrooms for a veggie version.
If crepes aren’t your thing, try some American-style thick fluffy pancakes, serving them sweet with the above, or even savoury with some bacon on the side.
Food allergies? No problem!
With many kids suffering from food allergies and intolerances, you might think pancakes are off limits. But there are loads of recipes out there that are gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free that your kids can enjoy.
Doves Farm have some great recipes for pancakes using buckwheat, and other gluten-free flours, and BBC goodfood has a collection of egg-free pancake recipes.
If you fancy something a bit different, School of Wok’s sweet coconut Asian pancakes are a must-try (they’re vegan-friendly too), using coconut milk and rice flour as the main ingredients.
There really are endless combinations for a pancake that every member of the family can enjoy, so get your frying pans out and start flipping!