Pancakes on Pancake Day make sense, but do you know why we celebrate it in the first place? From what it means to eat pancakes to the difference between crêpes and pancakes, here's your Shrove Tuesday 101.
When is Pancake Day?
Pancake Day falls on what we call Shrove Tuesday. This year it lands on Tuesday, 21 February. Pancake Day always lands 47 days prior to Easter, meaning the dates vary year on year.
What is Pancake Day?
Shrove Tuesday is the day that precedes Ash Wednesday and therefore the feast before beginning Lent. Lent is the 40 days that lead up to Easter and is traditionally used as a time for fasting. So, it makes sense we stuff our faces with pancakes before this starts!
Why do we celebrate with pancakes?
Shrove Tuesday is meant to be used as the last chance to use up any eggs and fats before embarking on Lent. Clearing the kitchen cupboards of things like eggs, milk and sugar to alleviate any temptations during the fasting period. In turn, people make pancakes!
What's the difference between pancakes and crêpes?
The main difference between crêpes and pancakes is that crêpes are much thinner and usually larger than traditional fluffy pancakes. This is because when making pancakes, you tend to use a raising agent like baking powder, and when making crêpes, you do not. Since crêpes tend to be thinner, they're also more likely to become crispier around the edges. When making pancakes, you'll also notice that the batter is much thicker than crêpe batter.
What is the most popular type of pancake?
In the UK, the most popular type of pancake is a crêpe.
What are the best pancake toppings?
The best thing about pancakes is that they're so versatile! You can top your pancakes (or crêpes) with pretty much anything you like. From strawberries and cream to lemon and sugar, to bananas, blueberries and even cream cheese, there's a whole host of delicious toppings suitable for Pancake Day.
Do pancakes always need to be sweet?
No—some savoury pancakes arguably taste even better than lots of sweet ones. Our spring onion pancakes are a great example, they're crispy, flaky and make the most delicious mid-afternoon snack (especially when dipped with soy sauce).
What are pancakes called around the world?
Yep! It's not just us Brits who are partial to a pancake or two. Around the world, there are lots of pancake varieties.
In Eastern Europe a pancake is known as a blini, while in places like Greece and Cyprus they're referred to as, tiganites.
In Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia they're either called, palatschinke, palačinka or palacinka. And in Japan, they're known as okonomiyaki.
Who invented the pancake?
Believe or not, but the first recorded pancake came from Ancient Greece and derives from a poet who described warm pancakes in one of his writings.
What is the secret to making pancakes?
You didn't think we were going to spoil the fun and tell your outright, huh?