These traditional British pancakes are perfect to celebrate Shrove Tuesday (Pancake day), and they call for super simple ingredients.
Traditional British pancakes are thin and folded pancakes, usually topped with lemon juice and caster sugar.
They're a classic recipe made on Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake day, but they're also great to make as a snack or for breakfast all year round!
SHROVE TUESDAY PANCAKES ORIGIN
Shrove Tuesday is the traditional feast celebrated the day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.
It's also known as Pancake day in the United Kingdom, Fat Tuesday in Italy, or Mardi Gras in the US.
The main reason why pancakes became a traditional food on Shrove Tuesday is that it was the last opportunity to use up rich foods such as eggs, dairy, and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast.
And British pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients!
Fun fact: On Pancake Day, "pancake races" are held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom.
The tradition dates back to 1445 when a housewife late for Shriving service was so busy making pancakes, that she raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake, flipping it to prevent it from burning.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AMERICAN AND ENGLISH PANCAKES
The main difference is that American pancakes are thick and fluffy, and they usually have baking powder as part of their ingredients.
British pancakes are thin and larger, and they're usually rolled up or folded into triangles.
They're very similar to French crepes, just slightly thicker and a bit smaller.
For this simple Shrove Tuesday pancake recipe you need basic ingredients you probably have in your pantry already:
- Eggs: Go for medium-sized eggs at room temperature, preferably free-range.
- Milk: Fresh full-fat milk is the best option, but semi-skimmed milk would also work.
- Butter: You just need a little butter for this recipe, and you can substitute it with a light olive oil.
- Sugar: You can use caster sugar or raw cane sugar (my favourite!). Although not traditional, you can most definitely use maple syrup if you like!
- Lemon: Sounds a bit strange, but lemon juice goes amazingly well with this English pancakes. Don't skip it!
HOW TO MAKE BRITISH PANCAKES
This easy English pancake recipe doesn't call for any special equipment and is ready in just 10 minutes.
Here's how to make them in just 4 simple steps:
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.
STEP 1 - Make the batter. Whisk all the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter, then let it rest in the fridge for 15- 30 minutes.
STEP 2 - Cook the pancake. Heat a pan and brush it with a little butter. Pour just enough batter to cover the pan, and cook the pancake until the bottom is set.
STEP 3 - Flip the pancake. Pour just enough batter to cover the pan, and cook the pancake until the bottom is set. Flip it on the other side and let it cook for a further minute.
STEP 4 - Top with lemon and sugar. Serve the pancakes drizzled with a little lemon juice and sprinkle with a little sugar on top.
Traditional British pancakes are served with freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster sugar on top.
Here are a few favorite alternative pancake fillings for Pancake day:
- Chocolate spread: You can't go wrong with chocolate! Homemade hazelnut-chocolate spread is super easy and so much better than store-bought.
- Marmelade: Store-bought or homemade jam or marmelade is always a delicious filling. Try orange marmelade, apricot jam or strawberry jam.
- Lemon curd: lemon curd or orange curd make such a delicious filling for pancakes!
- Banana and peanut butter: A match made in heaven! Sliced banana and peanut butter make such a simple and nutritious pancake filling.
- Ricotta or mascarpone cheese: Try homemade ricotta or homemade mascarpone cheese whipped together with a little sugar for a high-protein pancake filling. And top with your favourite fruit!
TIPS FOR THE BEST PANCAKES
- Preheat the skillet. Heat the skillet on medium-low heat, to avoid burning the pancake.
- Don’t add too much batter. Pour just enough pancake batter to cover the pan.
- Don't flip the pancake too early. Flip the pancake when the bottom is all set and little bubbles start popping up, it usually takes 90 seconds.
- Flip it very carefully. Pancakes are thin and delicate. Once the bottom is set, they're easy to flip just by tilting the pan, or you can use a silicone spatula.
- Keep the pancakes warm. Pile the cooked pancakes on top of each other while you cook the rest of the batter to keep them warm.
They're best enjoyed straight away, but you can make up the batter the night before so they are ready to cook in the morning.
Leftover pancakes will keep well for a day or two.
Place them on a plate and cover with plastic wrap, or store them in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator until needed.
You can then reheat them in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.
Yes! Try to always rest your pancake batter for at least 15 minutes.
Resting the batter allows the flour to absorb the moisture from the milk and result in more flavourful pancakes.
If you don't chill the batter, your pancakes will probably be a bit dry and tough.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
- 100 g all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 300 ml milk
- 1 tablespoon melted butter, plus a little extra for frying
- lemon wedges, optional
- caster sugar , optional
- Place milk, eggs and butter in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Add in the flour sifted through a sieve and whisk until you have a smooth, lump-free batter.
- Let the batter rest in the fridge for 15-30 minutes if possible, or start cooking straight away.
- Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat, and gently brush it with a little melted butter.
- When the pan is hot, pour a ladle of batter over the bottom of the pan and cook your pancake for 1 minute or until golden. Flip the pancake carefully using a silicone spatula, then cook a further 1 minute on the other side. Gently transfer the prepared pancake onto a warm plate and repeat the process until you have finished up the batter.
- Serve with lemon wedges and caster sugar on the side, or your favourite filling.
- British pancakes are best enjoyed straight away, but you can make up the batter the night before so they are ready to cook in the morning.
- Leftover pancakes will keep well for a day or two.
- Place them on a plate and cover with plastic wrap, or store them in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator until needed.
- You can then reheat them in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.