Monday, February 11, 2013

Shrove Tuesday -- Last Call for Irish Pancakes: 'Kitchen'

Céad míle fáilte to the inaugural column from 'The Wild Geese Kitchen,' produced by Maryann Tracy. Please send your story ideas, recommendations, recipes and feedback for us to Go raibh maith agat!
Before we find the recipe for the perfect Irish pancake, we must first learn why there is a 'Pancake Tuesday' in the Irish calendar. Pancake Tuesday, transpiring this week, is another name given to Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins in the Catholic calendar. This falls on a different day each year depending on when Easter lands. 

The name Shrove comes from the old English word "shrive," meaning to confess, as on this day Catholics would confess their sins and ask God for absolution in their parish church before returning home, where they would announce to family members what they intended to give up for Lent.

Lent, of course, symbolizes the 40 days and nights that Jesus spent fasting in the desert. In remembrance of this, rich foods, candy and other treats are given up for 40 days. Throughout the world, great feasts are held on the eve of Lent.  In Ireland, this feast happens to feature pancakes. Pancakes were chosen as pancake recipes helped exhaust stocks of milk, butter and eggs, which were forbidden during the Lenten period. It is also common for people to give up alcohol or smoking, with the money saved being placed in a collection box for the poor.
Once upon a time it was forbidden to marry during Lent, so the weeks preceding it were busy for the matchmakers, working feverishly to find suitable candidates for marriages before Ash Wednesday arrived. Households left with unmarried daughters by Shrove Tuesday tried to earn them better luck for the coming year by allowing them to toss the first pancake. Their pancake-making skill was seen as an indication of their romantic chances the next year. If the young woman could toss the pancake and receive it back into the pan, she would marry within the year. If it didn't turn or was dropped, she would remain single. 

Often the mother of the young spinsters placed her own wedding ring into the batter for the first pancake. If the first toss was a success, then the cake would be divided among the unmarried guests. The individual who received the piece containing the ring was considered doubly fortunate -- they would marry within the year, and it would be a perfect match. -- Sharon Slater and Maryann Tracy

Pancakes from the kitchen of Irish American Mom

A Traditional Irish Pancake Recipe

The following recipe for a traditional Irish Pancake is brought to you courtesy of blogger Irish American Mom


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 stick butter (2 oz melted)
  • 1/4 stick melted butter (for frying)
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (for serving)
Ingredients awaiting the call of Irish American Mom

Step 1: Make a batter by whisking together the flour, salt, eggs and milk.

Step 2: Add the melted butter and continue to whisk to form a smooth, thin batter.

Step 3: Heat an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat, and brush with melted butter.

Step 4: Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and tilt the pan from side to side to cover it in a thin layer of batter.

Step 5: Reduce to medium heat. When the top is beginning to look dry after 1-2 minutes, flip the pancake and continue to cook for an additional 30-60 seconds on the second side.

Step 6: Transfer the cooked pancake or crêpe to a plate, and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter. This recipe yields between 12-15, 8-inch wide pancakes, depending on how thickly they are poured.

Step 7: When the pancakes are cooked, pour 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice on the inside of each pancake, then sprinkle with sugar. Roll each pancake to form a cylindrical shape. Serve immediately.

Step 8: Alternative pancake fillings include jam, chocolate spread, maple syrup or golden syrup.

Servings: Approximately 15

Tell us your traditional dish for the beginning of Lent. 


EoinRoe said...

I like to use a little syrup, no extra sugar, and slice a banana on top, roll the pancake and...excellent little breakfast !. (For lunch take two..with flambe eau de vie de banane poured over them...Wow, what a lunch !)(For dinner you could skip the banannas, and use extra eau de vie...)

Gerry Regan said...

Eoin Roe, sounds like you know your way around the Irish 'Kitchen.' Do you have any other favorite recipes you might share?

Maryann said...

That lunch sounds really special!