Today is one of my favourite days of the year, its up there with Christmas, my birthday and the first day of school after the summer holidays. Mmmmyummyummyumm, do I love pancakes, Im looking forward to eating 4 or 5, there only little arent they?
First of all a little insight into the origins of pancakes and pancake day. Pancakes have been around for thousands of years, evidence suggests that they are one of the earliest commonly used form of cereal based food. Pancakes exist in the diet of most countries all over the world, they come in various shapes and sizes from the French and English versions which are thin, light and silky to the American pancake which is thicker and fluffy.
Do you know why we have pancake day? No, it's not just an excuse to consume loads of pancakes, it is actually called Shrove Tuesday, the word shrove comes from the old English word 'Shrive', which means to confess all sins. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent. traditionally pancakes were a way of using up stocks of eggs, milk and butter which were forbidden during the abstinence of lent.
So should you have 4-5 pancakes this evening? Well pancakes are a very basic batter recipe, Eggs, flour, milk, butter and maybe water, nothing too bad here but, it depends how you have your pancakes and then what you add to them.
Assuming that a basic serving is 2 pancakes (not 4 - 5, sorry) a serving of English pancakes on their own are approximately 120-150 calories. A lot of people are favouring an American style pancake (thank you Mcdonalds) which although smaller in diameter is thicker and denser, a serving of these on their own could come in at 300 calories!
Then you have to factor in how you have your Pancakes, what fillings you put with them, again this can vary dramatically from the traditional lemon juice and sugar, 180-200 calories per serving to something I found on the internet which was right up my street, Banana (oooh fruit, healthy), Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips, which weighed in at 600 calories per serving, this was with english pancakes, why stop there though a dollop of whipped cream and some maple syrup, substitute in American pancakes surely makes this a treat for anyone. Yes a 1000 calorie treat.
So, you've got be careful, stick to English style, nice and thin pancakes, traditional lemon and sugar is good, but you could instead have fresh fruit, blueberries, raspberries, figs, cooked apple and pear is nice, chopped nuts are a good addition if you want to up the Protein content, Creme fraiche or natural yoghurt to make it more luxurious. If you have to have something sweet add some good quality natural honey.
Most of all though, enjoy making them, get the kids involved, they are so easy to make and nothing is quite as satisfying as getting your first pancake toss right.