Why do we celebrate Pancake Day?
Did you know Pancake Day is also referred to as Shrove Tuesday? It’s a traditional Christian festival that is celebrated all around the world! Every year, Shrove Tuesday falls on a Tuesday before the beginning of Lent (on Ash Wednesday). Across the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada, many people will say ‘Pancake Day’ as traditionally during Lent, Christians would give up rich, tasting foods that included: butter, eggs, sugar and fat. As a result, Shrove Tuesday was an opportunity for families to use up all of these delicacies before their Lenten fast…and pancakes are the perfect way to use up all of these ingredients in one!
What is a pancake?
A traditional English pancake is a thin, flat cake made up of batter and fried in a frying pan. The simple batter mixture contains the following ingredients: all-purpose flour, milk, egg and sugar. In contrast, North American pancakes contain a raising agent, typically baking powder or whipped egg white. This creates their pancakes to be very thick and fluffy in texture.
Many people top their pancakes with lemon juice and sugar for a burst of citrus and sweetness. However, over the years people have got creative with their toppings, from a generous spread of Nutella, fruit or ice cream, to savoury picks of bacon, cheese and even poached eggs! Try our delicious blueberry pancakes recipe, where we add juicy blueberries to the pancake mixture for a pop of sweetness.
What’s the difference between a pancake and a crepe?
Crepes are also thin pancakes which have become a breakfast staple, tracing back to 13th-century France! The main difference between a pancake and a crepe is that a pancake tends to be smaller and slightly thicker in texture, whereas a crepe is much wider and ultra thin. It’s much thinner than a pancake due to having a higher volume of milk or water to it’s batter mix.
How to make American style pancakes
- Start by mixing the batter for the pancakes.
- In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder and caster sugar and give it a whisk so it is well incorporated.
- In a jug mix together the eggs, whole milk and vanilla extract. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and then slowly pour in the milk mixture whisk as you go, until you have a smooth batter.
- Heat a knob of butter in a non-stick frying pan and then when foaming, begin to ladle in your pancake batter to the size you want. Allow them to cook for a couple of minutes, until you see small holes and bubbles appear in the batter, then flip them and cook on the other side until golden and cooked through. You will need to do this in batches, but you can keep the cooked ones on a tray in a low oven to stay warm.
- While you are making the pancakes, get a second pan on a low heat and add another knob of butter. Allow this to melt and then add the apple slices. Cook them on each side for roughly 4 minutes until they are caramelized and softened. Keep turning them in the pan until they have cooked through, are starting to collapse but still holding their shape. Then remove them from the pan and set aside while you make salted caramel sauce.
How to make salted caramel sauce
- In a saucepan add the 100g butter, soft brown sugar, and double cream.
- Turn the heat on low and allow the mixture to slowly melt, using a wooden spoon to gently encourage it.
- Once all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth, take off the heat and stir through a generous pinch of Maldon sea salt.
- Set aside to cool slightly.
How to serve your pancakes:
- When all your pancakes are ready, take the cooked apple slices and stir them through the salted caramel sauce.
- Serve a stack of the pancakes with a generous spoonful of the apples and salted caramel sauce.
- Eat immediately.
How to flip a pancake:
Although the pancake has been around for over 5,000 years, people still find it hard to flip them without making a mess and leaving splatters!
Here is how to flip a pancake perfectly:
- Wait until the edges of the pancake will begin to brown and the top begins to bubble.
- Carefully lift the edge of the pancake to see if the underside is turning golden brown.
- Once golden brown underneath, slide the spatula under the pancake until it is in the centre.
- Flick 180 degrees to one side so that the pancake flips over.
Can you cook pancakes in an air fryer?
You can absolutely make pancakes in an air fryer! We recommend using American-style pancakes as you need to make sure sure your pancake mix is relatively thick to avoid sticking or tearing from the baking paper.
- All you need to do it pull out your air fryer’s draw and line up with baking paper.
- After that, carefully add a dollop of your pancake mixture on top, and then place another piece of baking paper on top, repeating the process until you have a nice stack of pancakes!
- Turn on your air fryer to 165 degrees for roughly 7-8 minutes.
- Take out once golden and crispy round the edges.
Can you freeze pancake batter?
You can freeze raw pancake batter. This is because eggs are whisked and mixed into the batter, making it safe to freeze. Once stored in the freezer, it can last up to 3 months!
How to freeze pancake batter:
- Once the pancake batter is mixed, pour carefully into freeze-safe zip bags.
- Lay a baking sheet inside the freezer draw and place the zip bag containing the mixture on it.
How to defrost pancake batter using water:
- Fill up the sink with cold water and place the zip-bag of frozen pancake batter into the water.
- Wait 30 minutes until the mixture has become liquefied in the bag.
How to defrost pancake batter using the fridge:
- Remove the zip-bag of frozen pancake better from your freezer.
- Lay a tea towel on one of the shelves of your fridge.
- Place the zip-bag containing the batter on top of the towel.
- Wait overnight until the mixture has completely thawed.