The Brits don’t really have the Italian flair for Carnival, but we do mark the day before Lent starts by, errr …. making pancakes and running in pancake races, which are held in various locations across the country.
The British tradition of Pancake Day, or to give it its correct name, Shrove Tuesday, came about as the eggs and butter that were forbidden during Lent, were traditionally used up the day before Ash Wednesday by making pancakes. The pancake race involves tossing and flipping pancakes before the runner crosses the finish line. It is said to have originated when a housewife was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time. When she heard the church bells ringing, she raced out of the house to church still carrying her frying pan and pancake. Participants in the pancake race are traditionally women. If men want to participate, they should, at the very least, wear an apron. Incidentally, the word ‘shrove‘ comes from the Old English word ‘shrive‘ meaning to confess one’s sins, something done before the beginning of Lent.
Photo credit: Tomopteris
Today, 12 February 2013, is Pancake Day and you might want to give your pancakes a twist by using the DOP chestnut flour of Lunigiana. To make a version closer to the traditional British pancake (which is similar to a crepe or crespelle) rather than the traditional chestnut pancakes of Lunigiana, which use only chestnut flour, water and perhaps a pinch of salt, you add wheat flour to the chestnut flour, as well as eggs, butter and milk as in the recipe below, which should make enough pancakes for four people:
- 200g DOP chestnut flour
- 100g wheat flour
- 4 pinches salt
- 2 eggs
- 150ml water
- 150ml milk
- 2 tsp melted butter
- In a bowl mix together the chestnut flour, wheat flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and break the eggs into it and mix together. Then add the water and the milk, beating constantly. When the batter is smooth, cover and leave in a warm place for an hour.
- Brush a hot frying pan with butter and pour a small ladle of the batter into the pan and smooth it over the whole surface of the frying pan. Cook until the edges of the pancake begin to colour then either flip the pancake, or turn it over with a spatula. Cook for one minute on each side. Put the pancake on a plate and keep warm whilst you cook the other pancakes.
Serve with you favourite sweet or savoury accompaniment. I suggest DOP honey from Lunigiana, ricotta cheese or perhaps a sauce made from Tarocco oranges or Nutella.
Shrove Tuesday and the chestnut flour from Lunigiana appeared on Ciao Lunigiana on 12 February 2013. All rights reserved.