Bringing Europe Home

Pancake Tuesday

Ash Wednesday is just around the corner–this year it falls on February 22.  So get ready to fire up your griddle and pour out the pancake batter on Pancake Tuesday!


“Shrovetide” is the English name for the two or three days immediately preceding Lent, and the Tuesday before Lent is known as Shrove Tuesday.  People were historically quite scrupulous about using this time to prepare for the forty days of the Lenten fast, one of the preparations being confession of their sins.  “Shrive” is an old English word meaning to go to confession and obtain absolution or to hear confession and give absolution, and the past tense of the word is “shrove.”  This is a spiritual cleansing, and it was traditionally accompanied by a practical cleansing of the cupboard.  Eggs, fat, and butter were not allowed during the period of Lent, so the ever-industrious housewives of the day prepared pancakes—the ideal fare for the disposal of those forbidden foods.  Thus, Shrove Tuesday is also called “Pancake Tuesday” in many cultures.  You can delve deeper into the roots and derivatives of the term “shrive” and of  Shrove Tuesday, and you can explore Shrovetide traditions to your heart’s content at the following sites:


The English do all kinds of things with pancakes during Shrovetide.  They throw them over tall poles (known as the “Pancake Grease”); they race with them while flipping them in a frying pan (patterned after a harried housewife circa 1445, who ran to church with her pancakes in pan, as the story goes); and, happily, they also eat them.  The British style pancake is, not surprisingly, heavy on the butter and eggs, which makes them crepe-like and delicious.  This recipe is courtesy of Shari the pancake lady, whom I wrote about in my Polish Pottery post, and you can see her other pancake recipes (and purchase her pancake ladies!) at  These pancakes are made one at a time, so I did use Shari’s recommended method of keeping the cooked crepes in a hot oven on the pancake lady plate while continuing to cook the rest of the batter.  It worked like a charm.  I also used my pancake lady to keep the batch of crepes warm while we were eating, and she did her job beautifully. Here’s Shari’s recipe:


  • I cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  Add the eggs and start whisking.  Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly.  When the batter is smooth, add the melted butter.  Drop by ¼ cupfuls (or less for thinner pancakes) onto a hot greased pan.

Roll the batter around to coat the surface evenly.  Cook until the edges are turning brown and crisp, then turn over and cook the other side until golden brown.  When cooked, place it on a plate in a 300 degree oven until the batter is finished.  Yields 10 crepe-like pancakes.

The English custom is to serve these sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice.  We like them with bananas and strawberries (and a little New England maple syrup).  That is how we have brought this tradition home!


  1. JRJ2015

    those look so goooooooooooood..

  2. I woke up this morning thinking about pancakes…. so I was DELIGHTED to see this post. I was making all sorts of yummy noises while looking at the photos.

    These look amazing and I may try that recipe at some point.

    Thanks. 🙂

    • They were amazing, Currie Rose! They’re a bit of a departure from the thick and bready type pancakes that we typically think of, but they are nice departure. 🙂 We love these with fresh fruit (as you can see), but I did try them in the traditional British style–with lemon juice and sugar–and they were actually terrific that way! Hope you like them, and I’m happy to have you stop by. 😉

  3. The Tea Sweetheart

    O my! we love us some pancakes with Morning sunrise tea and fruit. I even make them for dinner sometimes.:)

    • Then you must try these, Sweetheart! They are delightfully different from the pancakes I have grown to know and love…these are crepe-like and egg-y. They are excellent with fruit adn tea!

  4. I love Pancake day! I’m English and we always make them every year with lemon and sugar without fail.

    • I must admit, I never tried them with lemon and sugar until this year–and they were quite good! We still like our berries, though 🙂 I have to ask you: being English, have you ever seen some of those pancake races? They sound like a hoot, to me!

  5. Bonita Babe

    Just after reading your Shrove Tues blog – there in am FL paper in 2 pg piece on Pancake Tues with recipes and legends & history – BOY, are you on top of things!! Loved the piece and had never thought of this thisway – except for Mardi Gras ‘s here.. Keep us informed; liked the background info.

    • Glad you liked the background info, Babe. We are so used to the partying aspect of Mardi Gras here, we don’t reflect much on the origins of the word and the customs. (“Fat Tuesday” also does refer to the eating of butter and fats, etc., which were prohibited during Lent.) I’m happy to keep you informed! So, did you have your pancakes today?

  6. June

    I love this blog! Each feature is of special interest to me. I cant wait to make these pancakes this Tuesday! Looks like a great recipe and a great tradition to adopt!

    • Thank you, June–so glad you like the blog! These pancakes are terrific and truly easy to make. The only problem with them is that they disappear so quickly!

  7. Diana

    Yum! We love crepes, and one of our faves is strawberries and Nutella!

    • Yes! Bananas and Nutella also make a winning crepe-combo. Then again, we could really go crazy and have the three–strawberries, bananas, and Nutella–together!

  8. It is a simple recipe, Connie, and they are so good. The first one is a little tricky to flip, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy! I hope your girls enjoy them!

  9. I will be making these for my girls Tuesday morning! I make crepes all the time because they’re so easy and call for so few ingredients, but I’ve been looking for a new recipe… guess you can’t beat the real deal! Thanks, Robin, great post!

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