Learn English and make pancakes

It’s Pancake Day in Britain so why not practice your English by reading about the origins of Pancake Day then follow the recipe to make your own pancakes.

Pancake Day – Shrove Tuesday – Mardi Gras

Pancake day, or Shrove Tuesday, to give it its proper name, is a traditional day of celebration held in the UK the day before the start of the 40 days of lent. In other countries Shrove Tuesday is known as Mardi Gras (this literally means fat Tuesday). This day of celebration before lent begins dates back thousands of years and combines both Pagan and Christian rituals.  On this day, Christians in Britain went to church for confession and to be “shriven” of their sins. Shriven is an old English word meaning to be absolved from your sins and is where we get the name Shrove Tuesday from. In Britain we celebrate Shrove Tuesday by making pancakes, this is why it is also known as Pancake Day.

Why do we make pancakes?

The 40 days of lent, that lead up to Easter, were traditionally a period of fasting and making pancakes was a perfect way to use up food such as eggs, milk, sugar and fat before lent started. There are historical records, dating back to the 15th century, of people making pancakes on this date.

Tossing the pancakes

British pancakes are much thinner than the American ones, they are similar to French crepes. In order to cook the pancake evenly on both sides it is necessary to flip it or toss it in the frying pan. On Pancake Tuesday there are lots of pancake tossing competitions and many towns even hold pancake races. People run the race, often in fancy dress, carrying a frying pan with a cooked pancake in it, tossing their pancake as they run. 

The origins of the pancake race

The most famous pancake race is held in Olney, Buckinghamshire in the south of England. According to legend, in 1445 a woman in Olney heard the shriving bell ringing in the church while she was making pancakes. She ran to the church with her frying pan and pancake still in her hand. They still have a pancake race in Olney every year

Pancake toppings

The most traditional topping for pancakes on pancake day is sugar and lemon juice which are sprinkled over the pancake while it is still hot. There are, however, many variations with recipes for both sweet and savoury topping.

Would you like to try making pancakes this year?

If you would like to have a go at making your own pancakes this year then follow our recipe below (also in Spanish). There is also a link to a Youtube video which shows you how to mix the batter and flip your pancakes.

If you do make your own pancakes we’d love to see them so share your photos with us on Facebook and Instagram and don’t forget to use the hashtag: #ibsevillapancakeday 

Happy Pancake Day!

Easy Pancake Recipe

Learn English and join in with a British tradition this year with our easy pancake recipe. There is also a link to a video on youtube if you need more help

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 huevo
  • 1 taza de harina
  • 1 taza de leche entera

Put the flour into a large bowl. Add the egg and half of the milk whisk them into the flour trying to eliminate all the lumps. Add the rest of the milk and whisk until you have a smooth batter.

Poner la harina en un bol de cocina grande. Añadir el huevo y la mitad de la leche. Batir bien hasta que no haya grumos. Añadir entonces el resto de la leche y seguir batiendo hasta conseguir una buena mezcla y lisa.

How to cook your pancakes

Spray a tiny amount of oil (or butter)  into a large frying pan. It is important to only grease the pan, you don’t want lots of oil.

Place the frying pan on a medium-high heat. Pour in enough pancake batter to cover the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. You will have to move the pan around so that the batter covers the whole base of the pan.

Cook the pancake until the base of the pancake has gone brown (you can lift the edge of the pancake with a knife or spatula to check its progress). 

When the bottom is cooked, the pancake will no longer be stuck to the bottom of the frying pan. If you shake the pan a little the pancake will start to move, this means the pancake is ready to flip. Shake the pancake so that it is at the front edge of your frying pan then toss it up in the air so that the other side lands back in the frying pan. (Children can practice flipping pancakes with cold, cooked pancakes). If you prefer, you can use a plate to help you turn your pancake over but that isn’t as much fun as flipping it. Cook the other side of your pancake until it also starts to turn brown. Keep your cooked pancakes on a warm plate, layering pancakes between sheets of kitchen paper. 

Serve your warm pancakes with toppings of your choice.

Cómo cocinar tus pancakes

Poner un poco de aceite o mantequilla en una sartén. Es importante que echéis poca cantidad, que solo se engrase la sartén para que no se pegue (una nuez de mantequilla o una cucharadita de aceite).

Poner la sartén a fuego medio. Una vez caliente, echar la mezcla de los pancakes con un cazo o cucharón de cocina, hasta cubrir la base de la sartén. Girar la sartén para que la mezcla cubra toda la base.

Dejar que se haga el pancake hasta que quede tostadito (puedes levantar un poquito el pancake con ayuda de una espátula o un cuchillo para ver cómo se va tostando y evitar que se queme).

Cuando el pancake se haya hecho por un lado, ya no se pegará a la sartén. Comenzamos entonces a agitar un poco la sartén para que el pancake comience a moverse. Puedes ayudarte con una espátula o cuchillo para despegar los bordes si es necesario. Cuando el pancake esté suelto es el momento de darle la vuelta. Agita la sartén para que se mueva el pancake y dale la vuelta en el aire, para que caiga sobre la sartén del otro lado. Los niños pueden practicar con pancakes ya hechos y fríos 🙂 Si no te atreves a dar la vuelta al pancake en el aire, siempre te puedes ayudar de un plato, ¡aunque no será tan divertido! Deja que el otro lado del pancake se haga y sácalo cuando se tueste. Puedes ir dejando tus pancakes uno sobre otro, con papel de cocina entre ellos si lo ves necesario.

Sirve tus pancakes con tus coberturas favoritas.

Traditional pancake toppings

In the video the chef serves his pancakes with stewed apples but there are lots of toppings you can try.

Lemon juice and sugar – sprinkle over a hot pancake. This is the traditional Pancake Day topping. You can also try fresh fruit and cream, stewed apples and raisins, Maple syrup, honey or chocolate spread.

If you prefer savoury pancakes then follow this link for lots of recipes.

Cobertura tradicional para tus pancakes

En el vídeo el cocinero utilizaba manzanas, pero podemos utilizar varias coberturas para los pancakes.

La más tradicional en el Día del Pancake es zumo de limón con azúcar, cubriendo el pancake mientras esté caliente.

Pero también se pueden usar otras coberturas, como fruta fresca con nata, manzanas asadas con pasas, sirope de arce, miel y cómo no, ¡chocolate!

Si prefieres probar coberturas saludas, te invitamos a ver este enlace con varias recetas.