Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday
In the past, pancakes were traditionally eaten by Christians throughout the world on Shrove Tuesday, the day before the commencement of Lent and the fasting period. These days we can enjoy pancakes any time - as a dessert with sweet fillings or as an entree or main meal with savoury fillings. Add an extra egg for thicker pancakes or use more milk for thin crepes.
Here are a few delicious recipes and variations for your Shrove Tuesday pancake making. The first is my recipe for Palacsinta, adapted from my mother’s version that I tapped out on a little red Olivetti typewriter a few decades ago.
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
31/2 cups milk*
1 small vanilla bean, seeds scraped**
unsalted butter for cooking
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the sugar, eggs and a little of the milk. Stir well with a spatula to prevent lumps forming. Gradually whisk in the rest of the milk and beat until the batter is smooth and creamy. Fold in the vanilla bean seeds. Allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes or more.
Heat a small fry pan or skillet and add 1/2 a teaspoon of butter, tilting the pan to allow the butter to cover the pan. Using a ladle pour in sufficient batter to cover the pan, tilting and twisting quickly to spread it. Cook until the underside is just golden then turn carefully with a spatula cooking the other side of the pancake for a few seconds. Remove and set aside. Continue this with the rest of the batter, using small amounts of butter as required.
If you are filling the pancakes with jam, do so while they are still warm, spreading a good teaspoon or more of jam onto each one. Roll up or fold into triangles. Dust with icing sugar if you like. Makes 10-12 reasonably thick pancakes.
* Add an extra egg for thicker pancakes or use more milk for thinner crepes.
** Store the scraped out vanilla pod in a jar of caster sugar.
CAFE STYLE HOTCAKES OR PIKELETS
The hotcakes, little pancakes or pikelets, involve simply a combination of about one and a half cups of self raising flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, a tablespoon of caster sugar, a few drops of good quality vanilla extract and two free range eggs, which have been lightly whisked. Mix to a smooth batter. Ideally, you should let the batter rest for a while. In the meantime, slice up some market-fresh strawberries and lightly toast some almond flakes. Set aside. Use a large serving spoon to pour quantities of the batter into a frypan or griddle plate that has been sprayed lightly with oil. Cook the hotcakes briefly until bubbles appear and then turn over and cook the other side until golden brown. Serve warm. This quantity will make about six or eight hotcakes and the recipe is based upon an old and reliable receipt from The Women's Weekly. Allow two hotcakes per person. To assemble the dish, top each one with some crumbled ricotta or panir, fresh strawberry slices, toasted almond flakes and then drizzle with locally produced honey.
APPLE AND PEAR PANCAKES
Take advantage of the flavoursome variety of pears and crisp new season apples that are available now. I use sweet Royal Gala apples with Bartlett pears for this filling.
3 tablespoons caster sugar
11/4 cups water
3 tablespoons apricot jam
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons extra water
extra caster sugar for sprinkling
Cut the apples and pears into quarters, remove the cores and chop the fruit into small pieces. There is no need to peel the fruit. Combine the caster sugar with the water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Blend the cornflour with the extra water and stir into the pan with the apricot jam and lemon zest. Add the fruit, bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Spoon a little of the fruit filling onto one side of each pancake and roll up firmly. Serve in a heated dish sprinkled liberally with the extra caster sugar.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.