Irish Shrove Tuesday Pancakes are a delicious way to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. These crepe-like pancakes are folded into quarters and sprinkled with fresh lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar.
Once forbidden during Lent, eggs and fats were ingredients to dispose of by Ash Wednesday. On Tuesday, Irish bakers would make Shrove Tuesday Pancakes to use up those forbidden ingredients and clear the pantry for the Lenten season.
Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday is known by many names: Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday and even, Pancake Day.
Celebrating Shrove Tuesday like the Irish
“Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins). A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the “Pancake Bell” and is still rung today.”
What is Pancake Day?
In Britain, the day before Ash Wednesday, is known as Shrove Tuesday, an old English word derived from “shrive,” meaning, to “confess all sins.”
How Shrove Tuesday is Celebrated in Britain
As noted, Pancake Day is the traditional day for eating pancakes as it was a way to use up stores of milk, butter, and eggs, forbidden during Lent.
Irish Central says, “The earliest records of pancakes and pancake tossing appeared in the fifteenth century when the pancakes were a little thicker than the modern pancake; they would also often have added spices for a little decadence. It wasn’t until the eighteenth century and the influence of French cooking and their thin crepes that pancakes more as we know them now.”
They also describe Shrove Tuesday traditions in Scotland and Wales.
“In Scotland, special oatcakes called Bannocks were made using oatmeal, eggs, and salt and cooked on a griddle. A charm would be added to the dough and if an unmarried person found it, they would be married within the year.”
“Wales also had their own customs where people would pass from door to door begging for flour, lard or butter. In some parts of Wales, children would kick tin cans up and down the streets, believed to be commemorating the putting away the pots and pans for Lent.”
Symbolism for Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
The pancake has been a featured recipe in cookbooks since 1439. Flipping pancakes have been a tradition nearly as long.
In 1619, Pasquil’s Palin wrote, “And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne.”
Pancake ingredients symbolize significance during this time of the year.
- Eggs: Creation
- Flour: The staff of life
- Salt: Wholesomeness
- Milk: Purity
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar
- Fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter an ovenproof baking dish. Set aside.
- Blend or whisk vigorously the eggs, milk, melted butter, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt. A blender works great, but it can also be done whisking by hand. Gradually add flour; blend until smooth. Let stand 15 minutes.
- Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with butter. Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour the batter into the bottom of the pan, tilting to coat and form a circle. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 30 to 45 seconds. Using a spatula, turn the pancake.
- Cook the flipped side until the bottom becomes brown and speckled; about 30 seconds. Turn out onto paper towel. Cover with another paper towel. Repeat this process until all of the pancake batter has been used. Brush the skillet with melted butter as needed.
- Sift powdered sugar over the speckled side of each pancake, then lightly sprinkle a little lemon juice over each pancake. Fold into quarters and lay in the prepared baking dish. Continue to overlap the pancakes as they are folded. Cover and bake until the pancakes are heated through; about 10 minutes. Serve immediately with additional powdered sugar and lemon juice as desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 86Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 87mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 3g