Much like everyone else in the sphere of Catholocism, and beyond, today will involve ingesting some manner of pancake or another. Some of these will be bought from shops who are happy to make these super-simple treats for super-steep prices; some people will be subjected to rubbery messes that no amount of lemon juice and sugar can save, and some will be revelling in recipes handed down from generation to generation.
All are based on the idea that before Lent begins (tomorrow, for those of you giving up a thing...) all the tastiest things need to be removed from the house, the sugar, fruit and eggs need to be gone so as to avoid temptation.
I am the proud owner of three recipes. One, from my Mam, makes a delicious, super-flat pancake and is endless fun to flip. I actually managed a 720 degree flip in college once; it was a very proud moment.
The Second is an invention of my Nanny, which was never written down, involves no measuring of ingredients and requires a level of pancake-knowledge that the beginner should avoid, for now. But, they are so tasty...
The third, are my own invention, mostly because the boyfriend prefers his pancakes "American Style", in stacks. These, naturally, look best smothered in maple syrup and blueberries.
Stopping Pancakes from going rubbery:
Pancakes cannot be reheated. They will turn into rubbery chew-toys. If you're feeding a multitude, I'd suggest setting a pot of simmering water on the hob, with a dinner plate placed on top. This will give you a surface upon which to keep your pancakes hot while you prepare for the hungry masses...
The Chicken Pancake:
What the Hell is a Chicken Pancake, you may ask...
It's an old tradition, sadly dying out, that whenever something is made from ingredients found around you, some of it should be given back. Like, throwing a handfull of blackberries back into the bush once you've picked your fill, or, in this case, throwing the first pancake out to the chickens in the yard so they get some of their egg back. The first pancake tends to be a bit tough, so it may as well go to the chickens, anyway.
In my apartment, the Chicken Pancake, while acknowledged as such, tends to get eaten by my boyfriend. The day he starts laying eggs, I'll be mighty pleased!
I hope these recipes help you out in some small way...
All three make in or around 6-8 pancakes...
1/2 pint whole milk,
4oz plain flour.
Weight out flour in a large mixing bowl, add salt.
Mix milk and egg in a jug, and, whisking briskly, add mixture to flour gradually. Keep mixing until all the lumps are mixed in.
Heat frying pan with about 10 tbs of olive oil, once the pan is "as hot as you dare!" (don't let it start smoking...), pour excess oil into a cup, return pan to heat and add a thin layer of pancake batter to the pan, so that it reaches the edges.
Allow to cook until the shine has almost disappeared on the upper side, and with much performance, flip. Cook other side until it is brown and spotty.
Before starting every subsequent pancake, swirl oil in the cup around frying pan and drain excess back into the cup again. Pancakes soak up the oil as they cook, so re-oiling the pan, no matter how non-stick is a must...
This pancake is great with butter, chocolate spread, bacon and cheese, or the traditional lemon and sugar.
1/2 pint whole milk,
in or around 5oz plain flour. It has to be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. A few floury lumps won't do it any harm.
Thin slices of cooking (brambley) apple, peeled. 1 apple should be plenty to make a double batch of pancakes.
Mix as with Mam's Pancakes above.
Add thin apple slices and mix well.
Heat and drain the excess oil as explained above.
Using a ladle, or cup, scoop up batter, assuring you get some apple, and cook as above, spreading apple slices out before batter hardens too much.
Pancake can be turned without fear of buring the apples, as they are coated on both sides with batter.
Pancake is ready when apple slices are soft.
I always enjoy these pancakes the way my Nanny did; with lemon and sugar, ensuring that most of the sugar ends up on the table, just like she did! (she was not a neat cooker...)
1/2 pint whole milk,
2tsp baking powder
6oz plain flour.
Mix as with Mam's Pancakes, adding the baking powder in with the flour before adding wet ingredients.
Allow to sit for a few minutes while baking powder begins to thicken the mixture.
Heat pan to a medium heat. Drain the excess oil as explained above.
The batter will be very thick, so your frying pan should be able to make 4 small pancakes at a time with a little practise.
Fry for 6-7 minutes per side, and serve hot, stacked in the middle of a warm plate.