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Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) English-Style Thin Pancakes with Lemon and Sugar

eebee's picture

Today was Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, in England (and a small section of Gwinnett County, GA). Quick research reveals that to shrive is old English for acknowledging sins. On Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, families mix up a bunch of fatty stuff lying around the kitchen with flour, bung it into a frying pan and cook it because they won't be using it for the coming weeks of Lent.

Tradition from where I grew up yields crêpe-like things, mixed very simply thus:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. It should be pretty soupy, and not at all like American- or Scotch-style pancake batter. 

Heat a wide, round, non-stick skillet (mine is 12" diameter), spray with oil or drop about a tablespoon of oil into the pan and heat it a little, making sure the oil has covered the entire bottom of the pan at least once.

Drop about 1/2 cup of the batter into the pan and immediately swill it around so that it covers the bottom evenly. Let it sit for a minute on about medium heat. Check after another minute and the bottom of the pancake should be cooked. At this point it should no longer stick to the bottom of the pan but be sliding around on it.

Take the panhandle in both hands and remove the pan from the stove top. Shaking the slippery, half-cooked pancake around in the pan and holding the pan at a 45 degree angle away from your body toward the floor, toss the pancake up in the air and flip it so it lands uncooked-side-down in the hot frying pan.

Try not to get it stuck on the ceiling. Put pan back on stove and cook it for another 30 seconds or so until lightly browned. 

As Katie Holmes' first-born character explains in the movie "Pieces of April", the first pancake will always be a shambles. There is no way around this. It's pancake lore. Or pancake law.

Slip pancake out of pan onto plate. Squeeze half a lemon over the middle and roll the pancake up. Once rolled, squeeze more lemon juice along the length, and top with sugar.  

Happy Pancake Day.


Sandbanks-Shell Bay Ferry Poole, Poole
United Kingdom
50° 40' 55.0884" N, 1° 56' 57.9228" W

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