Pancakes could be one of the world’s oldest foods. Made from the most basic ingredients – flour, eggs and milk – and eaten on Shrove Tuesday – they traditionally represent the beginning of the Christian period of Lent. People would use up the last of their rich food supplies before fasting. Eggs and other dairy foodstuffs were considered rich and therefore not eaten during Lent. They are also a cheap, quick and easy dessert or breakfast dish for any day of the year.
Most often eaten with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of sugar, or a squeeze of maple syrup, pancakes go especially well with fruit, ice cream, chocolate and toffee sauces. Here are some ideas on what to serve with your pancakes this Shrove Tuesday, or indeed any day of the year.
Ideas for Pancake Fillings:
Dulce de Leche and Cream Pancakes
Dulce de Leche is a toffee sauce that is made in Argentina. It is widely available in supermarkets or can be bought online. Spread a layer of the sauce over the pancake and, using squirty cream from a can, squirt a line of cream down the centre of the pancake and roll up. Drizzle with chocolate sauce. Add fresh sliced bananas for Banoffee Pancakes.
Fresh Fruit and Ice Cream with Pancakes
Pancakes are also good with different fruits. Blueberries can be heated gently in a pan until they pop and release their purple juices. Tip in a good squeeze of maple syrup (about 2-3 tablespoons) and stir to make a sweet, thick blueberry syrup to serve with the pancakes. Alternatively chop up lots of fresh fruits and serve with the pancakes alongside ice cream and maple syrup if desired. Apples and pears can be sliced and heated in a frying pan with a little butter to soften them, and a sprinkling of sugar to caramelise them. These can be served with the pancakes with a little cream.
Although originally an austere and bland food eaten for religious observance, today pancakes are eaten more decadently. Rich and tasty sauces, fresh fruit and ice cream can all be used to create pancakes that can be enjoyed as a dessert all year round.