Pancake Day Facts & Recipe
Well, before we all get tossing tonight so to speak(!), here's a few facts about the day we know as...
Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional Ash Wednesday feast day prior to the start of Lent. Lent–the 40 days leading up to Easter–was traditionally a time of fasting, and Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession on Shrove Tuesday and were "shrivelled" (absolved from their sins). A bell for calling people to confession would be rung. This has come to be known as the "Pancake Bell" and is still rung today.
The pancake bell ringing people to confession
Shrove Tuesday typically comes 47 days before Easter Sunday, so that date varies from year to year and ranges from February 3 to March 9. Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to take advantage of eggs and fats before boarding the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way to use these ingredients.
Pancake ingredients: flour, eggs and milk
A pancake, made of batter and fried in a frying pan, is a thin, flat cake. A standard English pancake is very thin, and instantly served. The typical toppings for pancakes are golden syrup or lemon juice, and caster sugar.
The pancake has a very long history as far back as 1439, and is used in cookery books. The tradition of tossing or flipping them is nearly as old: "And every man and maide doe take turns, and toss up their pancakes for the feare they burne" (Pasquil's Palin, 1619).
Rolled pancakes
The ingredients for pancakes at this time of year can be seen as symbolising four significant points: eggs ~ Creation Flour ~ Life workers Salt ~ Wholesomeness Milk ~ Purity
And here is how to make the perfect pancake:


  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable, plus extra for frying
  • pinch salt


  • Put 100g plain flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl.

  • Make a well in the centre and crack 2 eggs into the middle.

  • Pour in about 50ml from the 300ml of semi-skimmed milk and 1 tbsp sunflower oil then start whisking from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the eggs, milk and oil. Once all the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it is too stiff to beat.

  • Add a good splash of milk and whisk to loosen the thick batter. While still whisking, pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk. Continue pouring and whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream.

  • Heat the pan over a moderate heat, then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper.

  • Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin and even layer. Quickly pour any excess batter into the mixing bowl, return the pan to the heat.

  • Leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 30 secs. If the pan is the right temperature, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 30 secs and will be ready to turn.

  • Hold the pan handle, ease a palette knife under the pancake, then quickly lift and flip it over. Make sure the pancake is lying flat against the base of the pan with no folds, then cook for another 30 secs before turning out onto a warm plate.

  • Continue with the rest of the batter, serving them as you cook or stack onto a plate.