Let’s Talk Pancakes
Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday, is the day in which the country goes pancake mad, with flour, eggs, milk or pre-made mixes flying off the shelves…but why? Shrove Tuesday for all intents and purposes is a religious occasion where English Christians prepared themselves for Lent, which equates to forty days of fasting to commence from the following day Ash Wednesday. This last day of indulgence allowed churchgoers the opportunity to use up any ingredients that couldn’t be consumed during the Lent period such as eggs, fat and milk, which subsequently made up the base batter used to make pancakes. Religious connotation asides pancakes can be enjoyed all year round and are more commonly popping up on breakfast menus, but the tradition of eating pancakes remains with Tuesday 1st March marking 2022 day of indulgence.
So, pancake day arrives, the batter has been made, the pan is on the heat and we all brace ourselves for that first attempt, the one I loving refer to as “the guinea pig,” the runt of litter, the dud, but is it always an inevitability that the first pancake never works out? According to industry chefs, the key to success makes these rather simple snacks rather complicated with batter consistency, temperature control and pan management all playing a part in reducing the odds that first cake will flop.
Overworking the Batter – Gluten in the flour when over mixed can result in a gluey pancake so ideally, you want to see tiny lumps of flour in the mix. The next trick is to leave it to rest, 20 minutes should be plenty during which the gluten in the mixture relaxes prior to cooking.
Temperature Control & Pan Management – Allow the pan to heat evenly before adding any butter or oil. Metal expands when it’s heated so giving it some time to warm up and settle tightens up any pours that the batter would otherwise fill, causing tears when flipping. Of course, butter and oil also creates a barrier between the pan and batter, but word of warning adding it too quickly will cause the temperature to drop and the pancake to stick.
So go forth, flip those cakes to your heart’s content but ask yourself, what will you be giving up for Lent?