Wait. What’s Pancake Day?
That was my question, too, when my charming English husband first mentioned this. I had never heard of it before. Apparently, in England, instead of Mardi Gras, they have pancake day. Parades, dancing in the streets, tossing beads and showing your boobs are all much too exuberant for the always polite and restrained English. I have to say, I’ve quite learned to enjoy pancake day. Mostly because it involves lemony, sugary, carbs.
Here’s another thing that still confuses me a bit about pancake day. These are actually crepes, right? Unless there’s some secret distinction my American brain can’t comprehend, I would definitely consider them crepes and not pancakes. But you can’t say that to an English person. They tend not to care for the French. Don’t even try and tell them their pancakes are actually French. Just shut up, and eat them. It’s gonna be awesome.
Here’s how this whole thing goes down. I make the crepe, ahem, pancake batter. Geoff actually cooks them. I walk away while this happens because technically, he’s doing it wrong, but they always come out perfect, so I learn to keep my bossy, rule-abiding mouth shut. Once you start to have hot pancakes coming out of the pan, you squeeze a wedge of lemon over them, sprinkle some white sugar on top, roll it up, and stick it in your face while it’s still hot. I’m sure the English would use a knife and fork. I don’t bother with that and eat it with my hands because I’m a coarse and vulgar American. It’s cool.
You can obviously fill these with whatever you have lying around, but try this simple lemon juice and sugar version. It’s bright and sweet, and the sugar adds a delightful little crunch. It’s supposed to be indulgent. It’s the last fun thing you get to do for the next forty days. If you’re a lent type of person. And if you’re not, it’s still fun.
If you’re not into parades and beads and public drunkenness, try the Pancake Day experience instead. I was skeptical at first, but now I look forward to it every year. Happy Pancake Day, kids!
- 2 tablespoons melted butter, plus a bit for the pan
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1-1/3 cup milk (I used skim)
- 1 egg
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- Melt your butter and set aside to cool a bit.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, milk, and egg, quickly and gently until combined. Whisk in melted butter.
- Heat a medium skillet medium heat and melt a bit of butter in your pan. You might want to use a paper towel to make sure the whole bottom of your skillet is slick. When your pan is hot, pour in about three of four tablespoons (Geoff uses one scoop from a big plastic serving spoon) of your batter, and swirl it around until it covers the bottom of the pan evenly. Allow to cook on one side for about a minute. It will start to lift up on the edges a bit. Flip your pancake and cook for another minute on the other side.
- Once your pancakes are cooked, squeeze some lemon juice over each one, then sprinkle it with sugar. Roll it or fold it however your like. Eat and repeat until you think you can't possibly go on. That's the whole point.