Updated: Nov 12, 2020
Watch our 'how to' video and follow the recipe below for the BEST BRITISH pancakes in the universe.
Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday in Britain
Pancakes, crepes, drop scones, tortitas…no matter what you call them, it’s that time of year again. The time when British people go collectively crazy and try to flip pancakes in their kitchens.
‘Why on earth do you do that?’ I hear you ask. Why it’s pancake day, of course!
The Tuesday before the first day of Lent is Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as it has come to be called. Shrove comes from the old Christian practice of shriving, in which Christians would go to confess their sins and receive absolution.
Lent, the period before Easter, was traditionally a time of fasting and therefore Shrove Tuesday was the day in which everyone would try to use up all of the rich ingredients, like eggs and butter, that they wouldn’t be able to consume during the fast. Pancakes were the perfect way to use up these ingredients and enjoy one last treat before the long weeks of Lent.
An important tradition on this day, is to try to flip your pancake. This involves making the pancake turn over by throwing it up in the air and catching again in the frying pan. You need a strong wrist, a bit of skill and a willingness clean up afterwards as you’re sure to drop at least one!
In parts of the UK, this has turned into a rather quirky sporting event involving lots of people, often wearing fancy dress, running in a race down the street whilst flipping pancakes. Yes, I know. It’s weird.
If you fancy joining in the fun and making your own pancakes, here is the basic recipe below. Pancakes are traditionally eaten with lemon juice and sugar or golden syrup but feel free to stick on a blob of nutella or some jam or even honey.
(Makes four large pancakes or six smaller ones)
135g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
130ml milk (more if mixture too thick should run off spoon)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp melted butter
(tsp = teaspoon, tbsp = tablespoon)
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl.
In a separate bowl or jug, whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in the melted butter.
Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and beat with a fork until you have a smooth batter. Let it stand for few mins.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter.
When the butter is melted, add the batter to the pan using a ladle. When bubbles start to appear, it’s time to get flipping!