All you need to know about Pancake Day - plus Mary Berry's Pancake Recipe

Pancake Day falls on Shrove Tuesday every year. If you are wondering what that is and why we celebrate it, then read on! There is also a tasty Mary Berry pancake recipe to share with you, so you can start flipping your own pancakes on Tuesday. Any that you don’t manage to get stuck on the ceiling or on the floor you can eat!What is pancake dayPancakes are delicious, and many countries have their own versions of them. The French have their crepe, which is the closest of all pancakes to the thin English ones. American style pancakes are thick and fluffy. The Scotch pancake is made with cream of tartar, and the Irish Boxty is a potato pancake. Pancakes in their many guises are found in Japan, Europe, Russia, (think Blini and caviar) probably the most decadent of pancake toppings!

Toppings have changed over the years to include, maple syrup, chocolate spread, fresh fruit, ice cream. Bacon remains the number one favourite savoury topping. You may also be surprised to learn that the classic English topping of lemon juice and sugar remains the most popular.Pancake Day Toppings

What is Pancake Day?
Pancake Day falls on Shrove Tuesday every year. It is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the day that marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is a period of 40 days leading up to Easter. This traditionally, is a period of fasting for Christians.

What does Shrove Tuesday represent?
Shrove Tuesday was the day that Christians went to confession. The word ‘shrove’ came from the old word ‘shrive’ which means ‘to absolve’. Once people confessed their deeds they would be ‘shriven’ meaning they were absolved from their sins.

So, what has this all this to do with Pancakes?
Shrove Tuesday was the traditional feast day before the start of Lent. During Lent people had to fast. There were strict rules on what people could eat, so Shrove Tuesday was an opportunity to use up all the eggs and fats. Pancakes were the perfect way to do to this. The pancake has a long history and recipes were featured in cookery books as far back as 1439. 

When did Pancake Day races begin?
Legend has it that pancake races began in Olney, Buckinghamshire. In 1445 a woman was making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday lost track of the time. On hearing the ‘Shriving’ Bell calling everyone to church she was anxious she would be late. She ran to church in her apron, still clutching her frying pan with a pancake inside. Since then, the Olney Pancake race has taken place every year. Pancake races take place all over, and many people dress up in all sorts of costumes but in Olney, women wear a head scarf, and apron.

What other countries celebrate Pancake Day?
Most Christian countries celebrate Shrove Tuesday, so they make pancakes as part of the tradition on that day. In France and the US they call Pancake Day, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday due to using up all the fats, milk, eggs etc, before Lent. 

Some Pancake Trivia
Did you know that the most flips of a pancake is 349 in two minutes!

The Guinness Book of World Records states that the most pancakes served in an 8 hour period is 34,818!

The largest pancake ever made, measured 15 meters and weighed 3 tonnes.Pancakes

Mary Berry Pancake RecipeCrouching Cat ApronGrab your apron and try this simple and tasty recipe by Mary Berry. You can really show off your culinary skills with this! It makes 12 thin pancakes, more than enough to lose one or two when flipping and still have plenty to eat.

You can choose your own topping. So be creative!

Ingredients

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 egg and 1 yolk
  • 300ml milk

Equipment

  • 2 Mixing Bowls
  • Sieve
  • Whisk
  • Spoon
  • Large frying pan
  • Pastry Brush

Method

  1. Sift 125g plain flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle.
  2. Whisk together one egg, one yolk and a little milk taken from the 300ml, in a separate bowl.
  3. Pour into the well. Whisk with a little of the flour.
  4. Gradually whisk in half of the remaining milk, drawing in the rest of the flour with a little at a time, to make a smooth batter.
  5. Stir in the remaining milk. Cover and leave to stand for about 30 minutes.
  6. Heat the frying pan and brush with a little oil.
  7. Ladle two or three tablespoons of batter into the pan and tilt the pan so that the batter spreads out evenly over the bottom.
  8. Cook the pancake over a medium-high heat for 45-60 seconds until small holes appear on the surface, the underside is lightly browned and the edge has started to curl. Loosen the pancake and turn it over by tossing or flipping it with a palette knife. Cook the other side for about 30 seconds until golden. Slide the pancake out of the pan.
  9. Heat and lightly grease the pan again before making the next pancake. Serve the pancakes as they are made or stack them on a plate and reheat before serving. (If the pancakes are hot when you stack them they will not stick together; there is no need to interleave them with greaseproof paper.)

Any uneaten pancakes will keep in a stack for 24 hours or can be frozen.

Good luck!