Though it was originally an Anglo-Saxon Christian tradition, Shrove Tuesday (or ‘Pancake Day’, as it’s more commonly referred to) is now celebrated by lots of different people around the world.
Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before the beginning of the festival of Lent, and it takes place exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday – so the date changes each year. But this year, it falls on the 21st February.
In Christian tradition, it’s said, that at this time, Jesus retreated into the desert where he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, even though he was tempted by Satan.
As a result, Christians would give up a range of different foods such as meat, eggs, fats, and dairy during this period to remember the discipline and self-restraint Jesus demonstrated in the wilderness. This meant that Shrove Tuesday would be the last day people would have to use up any tempting ingredients – and one of the easiest ways to do this was to make pancakes.
These days, many Christians still observe Lent, although Shrove Tuesday has become a day where people of all religions and nationalities enjoy a tasty treat. And, unlike some of the bigger holidays like Christmas and Halloween, it’s easy to get involved – all you have to do is whip up a couple of pancakes.
Here in the UK, pancakes are usually cooked thinly and served with lemon juice, sugar, or golden syrup. But if you fancy something a little different this Shrove Tuesday, there are plenty of interesting pancake recipes and ideas out there.
So whether you’re new to the tradition or celebrate Pancake Day every year and are looking to mix things up, here are six pancake ideas to stir your appetite…
1. Savoury pancakes
For some of us, there’s nothing better than something sweet. But there are also plenty of delicious ways to enjoy savoury pancakes…
For example, in France, savoury crêpes (called ‘galêttes’) are extremely popular. Unlike conventional crêpes (which are made from sugar, eggs, butter, milk, and wheat flour), galêttes are traditionally made from just water, salt, and buckwheat flour – although some recipes do recommend adding an egg.
Galêttes are typically combined with ingredients like gruyêre cheese, fried eggs, and spinach, and they’re folded into a square to serve. So if you fancy getting a little bit continental this pancake day, why not check out this galêtte recipe from Doves Farm?
Alternatively, you could consider something a little more out-there; like this hearty spinach and ricotta pancake bake, or these brie-stuffed American-style pancakes with crispy bacon, both from BBC Good Food.
Or, for more savoury pancake ideas, why not take a look at this article from Olive Magazine?
2. Healthy pancake alternatives
The signature sweet taste of pancakes might not be the only reason that you want to keep your distance this Shrove Tuesday. If you’re watching what you eat, then the high-calorie content and decadent toppings may also put you off.
But, if you’re trying to keep things healthy, you don’t have to miss out on all the fun. There are plenty of healthy, low-calorie pancake recipes that can help you get some key vitamins and minerals.
For example, you could try making a healthier-alternative pancake batter, cooking it as normal, and garnishing with fresh fruit. This recipe from Simply Delicious combines rolled oats, eggs, ripe bananas, baking powder, and a pinch of salt to make a healthy American-style batter. Not only are they nutritious and tasty, but they also have that signature fluffy texture.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for the classic thin pancake that’s popular here in the UK, then why not have a go at making these traditional Norwegian pancakes from Hint of Healthy? This recipe doesn’t use sugar, and you can use vegetable oil instead of butter.
And finally, if you’re looking for something that packs a whole lot of goodness, why not try these protein pancakes from Jamie Oliver, which are topped with almond butter, honey, fat-free Greek yoghurt, fresh figs, pear, apple, and pomegranate seeds? They’re a great way to get your Tuesday rolling.
3. Decadent pancakes with a twist
While some people might be looking for a slightly more restrained meal this Pancake Day, others might want to really indulge. So, in the full tradition of Shrove Tuesday, you might want to treat yourself to something rich and decadent.
But instead of smothering your pancakes in golden syrup or sugar, why not have a go at making something with a bit more of a twist?
One road you could go down is to make pancakes that put a spin on other popular treats. For example, this cinnamon roll pancake recipe from BBC Good Food comes highly recommended and uses caramel yoghurt and maple syrup to mimic the icing and stickiness of the beloved treat.
Alternatively, why not give these striking red velvet pancakes with a cream cheese glaze from Cooking Classy a try?
4. Consider a vegan-friendly or gluten-free option
If you follow a vegan diet, you too might not be so excited about the idea of Shrove Tuesday. After all, it’s traditionally about using up ingredients like eggs, milk, and butter. However, there are plenty of great vegan-friendly pancake recipes and ideas out there to choose from.
For example, if you like the sound of fluffy American-style pancakes, why not give this recipe from Tasty a try? Or, if you’re in the mood for thinner, more traditional pancakes, this recipe from Great British Chefs comes highly recommended. Both swap cows milk for non-dairy milk like almond milk, and neither contain eggs.
And if you’re gluten-free, there are also plenty of tasty options out there like this recipe from Tesco Real Food – or this gluten-free American-style pancake recipe from Noshtastic, which combines white rice flour, brown rice flour, and xanthan gum to achieve that famous fluffy texture.
5. Pancake recipes from around the world
Due to their simple nature, almost every culture has their own version of the pancake. So if you’re looking to spice things up this Shrove Tuesday, why not consider making a different kind of pancake from somewhere else around the world?
We’ve already spoken about French crêpes and Norwegian pancakes, but there are lots of different options out there to send you on a culinary adventure this Pancake Day.
For example, if you love fluffy, American-style pancakes, you could go a step further and try these Japanese pancakes from i am a food blog.
These Japanese pancakes are traditionally called fuwa fuwa or soufflé pancakes because the egg whites are whipped into a meringue during the batter-making process, which gives them their well known jiggly texture. These will be delicious with pretty much any of your favourite toppings.
If you’re cooking for a few this Shrove Tuesday, you could even have a go at making this Dutch baby recipe from Kitchn. These are made in a big skillet and rise up to make one giant, puffy, topping-containing pancake that’s perfect for the whole family – think big, sweet Yorkshire pudding.
Or, if you have more of a savoury palette, bindaetteok may be more suited to your taste. These traditional Korean pancakes are typically made with mung beans, kimchi, and meat. They’re not only tasty and healthy, but they’re also packed with enough goodness that they can be a complete meal in themselves.
What’s also great about Bindaetteok is that you can make large batches and freeze them for quick and easy meals or snacks. This recipe from Maangchi shows you how to make bindaetteok in a traditional and authentic way.
For more pancake recipe ideas from around the world, take a look at this article from BBC Good Food.
6. Classic pancakes
Oftentimes, something is a classic for a reason, and it’s no different when it comes to pancakes. So if you’re looking for something that’s tried and tested, why not have a go at this traditional pancake recipe or this American-style pancake recipe, both from BBC Good Food? You can then load them with your favourite toppings.
If you’re stuck for topping ideas, here’s a few of the most popular that you can mix and match…
- Lemon and sugar
- Fresh berries
- Maple syrup and bacon
- Golden syrup
- Chocolate chips
- Whipped cream
From Korean mung bean pancakes and Dutch babies to cinnamon bun and red velvet-inspired pancakes, we hope this article has given you a few ideas for what you can make this Shrove Tuesday.
And whether you’re a Christian celebrating the end of the pre-Lent season, or you’re just looking forward to enjoying some tasty pancakes, we hope that you have a pleasant day.
For more culinary inspiration, you might want to head over to the food and drink section of our website, where you’ll find lots of tasty recipes as well as plenty of helpful information on diet and nutrition.