On the news this morning, it was claimed that only a third of us Brits indulge in Pancake Tuesday. The traditions appear to be on the way out and seriously, that is sad. Our friends in France or Spain, for example, would never give up on their quirky traditions; if anything, they look forward to having any celebration as long as it is based on food. And so do I.
As well as the tradition and the inevitable eating, pancake making can also be a lot of fun. My daughter had her first experience of pancake flipping last year, albeit one with both of my hands on the handle too, and rarely have I seen her so excited when we piled in the apple, cinnamon and chocolate filling we prepared together. It took 5 minutes for her to demolish our creation, but 5 minutes of rare silence followed by a resounding, 'Dad, that was soooooo good!' Surely these reasons alone are enough for us to keep these fantastic food traditions alive. Happy Shrove Tuesday everybody.
Apple, Cinnamon and Chocolate Toffee Pancakes
For the pancake batter
125g plain flour
For the filling
4 eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
A good pinch of cinnamon
6 tbsp honey
Chocolate, any, roughly chopped
1 - Sieve the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, break in the egg and with a whisk or fork, combine. Slowly pour in the milk and water combination, whisking all of the time, until you have a batter the consistency of thin cream. If it looks too thick, add more milk.
2 - Heat up a non-stick frying pan. Pour in a little oil - I use a flavourless one such as groundnut - then wipe with a piece of kitchen towel. When the pan is really hot, pour in a small ladle of batter mixture and quickly turn the pan around until it is covered. Cook for 1 minute then flip and cook the other side. Cook the pancakes in batches and set aside between greaseproof paper.
3 - To make the filling, melt the butter in a non-stick pan. Add the apples and quickly cook, stirring all of the time, until they slightly soften and colour. Stir in the cinnamon and the honey. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the honey and butter form a toffee sauce.
4 - To assemble, pile the apple mixture onto pancakes, dot pieces of chocolate amongst it and drizzle on the toffee sauce. A little créme fraiche or yoghurt would be lovely.