Yes as a child here in the UK, we always celebrated Shrove Tuesday as ‘Pancake Day.’  Lemon and sugar and then rolled up.  Probably a bit dull by today’s standards of varying toppings or fillings…Sweet or savoury fillings?

What is Shrove Tuesday and why pancakes?  They are traditionally eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs, which were forbidden during Lent.  Eggs were thought to be too rich to eat during Lent, so households used up the ingredients by mixing them all together to make batter, before the annual exercise in self-restraint commenced.  Easter Sunday is celebrated around six weeks after Lent starts.

I wanted to look for something different, although how different, when the pancake is simply a traditional batter mix of eggs, flour, milk or water.  Well, I came across several recipes from South Africa.  I apologise to all South Africans if my translation of Afrikaans is incorrect, but I am reliably informed that Plaatkoekies translate to stove cakes and Pannekoek is pan cakes.

pancakes and bacon

The first Plaatkoekies (stove cakes) is what we in the UK call drop scones, small thicker pancakes and almost crumpet like (without the holes).  The Americans use these to create awesome pancake stacks with blueberries and maple syrup.  Secondly are Pannekoek (pan cakes), which are the thin, larger pancakes, like crepes, but rolled.  South Africans refer to these as flapjacks, confusing uh?

The batter mix is in essence the same for both recipes.  It’s what you do with the eggs and use water or milk that defines them as to the thickness of the batter.  Naturally to make the smaller ones and to help them keep their shape and thickness, the batter needs to be thicker and you don’t want them to become dense, so the egg whites are whisked and folded into the flour and milk.  When making the flat pancakes to roll, whisking the egg whites are not necessary and use water instead of milk.  If you want to cook the pancakes and keep to the next day, we add a couple of teaspoons of white vinegar to preserve them (nothing scientific here, just know it works).

Get creative with the kids tomorrow.  In fact, who need children around to enjoy pancakes, dare to have a flip…and Happy Pancake Day!

So, here are the recipes for Plaatkoekies and Pannekoek.


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