Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pancake Day!

Today is Shrove Tuesday, or as it is more commonly known...PANCAKE DAY!

What a flippin' brilliant custom (pun intended...), having a day dedicated to the consumption of pancakes! Ok, so there is some tradition behind this, as Shrove Tuesday actually marks the day before lent starts (Ash Wednesday), which varies from year to year, depending on where Easter falls in the calendar - and what better way to start 40 days of resisting temptation, then to use up the produce in your fridge and stuff yourself with rich, stodgy food made of dairy, sugar and eggs?

Whether or not you participate in lent, I expect that most people in the UK participate in scoffing pancakes on this festive day. Now whilst the English pancake tends to be more of the crepe variety, as opposed to the thicker, fluffier Scotch and American kind, I was not really in the mood for this today. In fact, the standard crepes with lemon and sugar are not really my thing in general.

When it comes to crepes I prefer them savoury. In France, when you buy crepes they are always perfectly crispy and stuffed with cheese or ham (there is also a great crepe cart in San Francisco called Crepes A Go Go which is the perfect late-night snack destination and has the crispiness down to a tee). But for some reason, all the other crepes I have tried, have mostly been of a more rubbery consistency.

In Hungary, one of my favourite dishes is hortobágyi palacsinta, which is made by stuffing savoury pancakes with stewed minced meat, rolling them up, covering them in a paprika sauce, and baking them. These are topped with sour cream and are absolutely delicious.

But anyway, in the end I decided to make chocolate pancakes this afternoon. I made them quite small-ish and instead of being flat (as a pancake!) they were a little thicker and fluffier.

Putting together the ingredients was easy, although perhaps a little more time consuming than the average crepe, as it required whisking egg whites into a meringue and folding them into the other ingredients, which included ricotta cheese, making it quite a thick mixture to blend together.

Well, I have to say - they came out perfect! Sooo yummy, and although they were chocolate pancakes, there was not much sugar in them, so they were not too sweet.

The original recipe called for the addition of a chocolate sauce and chocolate ice cream, but I simply topped them with a little icing sugar and freshly whipped cream. Divine.

There are lots of ways you could add to this recipe, for example, I thought it might be nice to add in some fresh blueberries or raspberries next time. You could even throw some chocolate chunks into the batter....

Do you have any yummy pancake recipes to share?

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