21 February 2012

It's Pancake Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of lent for many Christians around the world. Traditionally on Shrove Tuesday pancakes are made, to use up all the rich food in the house before the Lenten fasting begins.

The easiest way to use up these rich foods (sugar, eggs, butter, milk, meat, butter) was to make pancakes, hence the day became known as Pancake Tuesday. Well that's the history of Pancake Tuesday in a nutshell, or a few sentences as the case may be.

I love pancakes and they often feature on the lunch menu during school holidays, and are a regular weekend breakfast in our home. I even make my own "pancake shake" mix to take camping. Such a frugal treat and yet so yummy.

They're quick and easy to make in a single batch or in bulk and they freeze really well. Small pancakes are ideal to snack on, larger pancakes are perfect for a weekend brunch or to use instead of bread for an extra special sandwich.

Pancake mixes have been around just about forever (or at least 50 years anyway). First there was the mix in a box, then the shake and pour type of mix hit the supermarket shelves.

So what's really special about a pancake mix? The truth is nothing. You can whip up a batch of pancakes with basic pantry items for cents.  If you've never made pancakes from scratch (and I posted a step-by-step how-to here a few weeks ago) you just have to give them a try. They are so easy and just as quick as any shaker mix.

This is a very simple, basic pancake recipe, that costs around 80 cents a batch - much cheaper than a bought mix.

2 cups SR flour
2 tablespoons sugar (omit for savoury pancakes)
2 eggs
1 ¾ cups milk
¼ cup vegetable oil

Beat the egg and oil into the milk. Mix the sugar into the flour and make a well in the centre. Pour the milk mixture in and mix quickly and lightly. I use a large balloon whisk to do this, it helps to get the lumps out. When the batter is smooth set it aside for a few minutes. In the meantime, heat a pan or griddle and melt a small amount of butter. Pour about ¼ cup of batter onto the hot pan. The pan I use is large enough to do four at once. Don't forget to allow room for spreading. When the top is covered with bubbles and starting dry out flip the pancake. Cook until brown on the bottom. Serve them with lemon and sugar, honey, jam, butter, maple syrup or homemade pancake syrup.

Occasionally I like to get a little fancy and give the family a surprise treat.

Fruit and Nuts Flapjacks
2 cups SR flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups buttermilk*
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups grated apple
1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts)

Combine the four, sugar and spices in a large mixing bowl. Break the two eggs into a separate bowl. Pour the buttermilk and oil into the eggs and whisk until completely combined. Whisk into the dry ingredients. Fold in the apples and pecans to combine. Grease a frypan and place over medium heat. Use a 1/4 cup measure to pour the batter into the hot frypan. Cook 4 minutes or until bubbles begin to appear around the edges. Flip and continue cooking an additional 4 minutes or until golden brown. 

These pancakes are not only sweet but filled with spices and they make breakfast a special event. Serve them with apple sauce instead of pancake syrup for something a little special.  Leftovers can be frozen for up to 2 months.

*Buttermilk - you can buy buttermilk, if your supermarket stocks it and you can afford it or you can simply MOO it.  To make 1 cup of buttermilk add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice (whatever you have to hand) to a cup of milk, stir and let it sit on the bench for 15 minutes.  That's it, easy, quick and cheap.

Plum Baked Pancake
This pancake is similar to a Dutch Baby, only tastier. It's also a fantastic way to use up those plums that are wilting in the fruit bowl.

1 large plum, thinly slice
3 tbsp brown sugar, divided
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup SR flour
2 tbsp butter

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place the plum slices into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the plums with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, the cinnamon and lemon juice and toss to coat well. Place the remaining brown sugar, milk, eggs and flour into a separate bowl. Whisk until all the ingredients are blended together well. Place the butter into an ovenproof frypan and place in the oven. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the oven and spread the batter evenly into the skillet. Top the batter evenly with the plum mixture. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Makes 4 servings

I hope you get to make and enjoy pancakes today, I'm off to make some for lunch right now :)


  1. Just come back from Daylesford where I spent many a happy hour gathering blackberries.
    Blackberry syrup & blackberry jam will be featuring on our pancake menu tonight - YUMMO!

  2. I haven't been blackberrying for years, I am green with envy! We'd get rugged up in overalls, with gumboots (gotta look out for snakes) and rubber gloves and hats, big buckets and off we'd go. We would spend the day picking berries on a friends dairy at Batlow - then go home and spend all night making jam. There is nothing to compare with real blackberry jam. I hope you enjoy it.

  3. You forgot to mention how much nicer homemade pancakes taste compared to those desgusting shake and pour ones that taste too sweet and weird! Yumm homemade pancakes.... Pancake time I think!

  4. How did you make an instant pancake mix for camping? I'd love to know as we are off soon. Thanks.


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