Shrovetide Pancakes — A Shrove Tuesday Tradition

Photo credit: Martin Deutsch

Shriven/Shrove: archaic : to confess one’s sins, especially to a priest*

When they heard the “pancake bell,” people flocked to the church to be “shriven” or confessed on Shrove Tuesday, and ready to make the pancakes that date back to Saxon times.

If you think of Shrove Tuesday pancakes as stodgy, thick American pancakes, think again.

Meant to use up eggs, butter, and milk just before Lent, these pancakes resemble French crêpes and Italian crespelle more than the flapjacks so beloved by lumberjacks and that mythical figure, Paul Bunyan. One recipe, meant for the rich, included cream instead of milk, sherry, orange-flower water, and nutmeg in addition to the basic recipe ingredients provided below.

In some towns in England today, people race,  flipping these pancakes in contests. I suspect their pans are larger than mine or their aim is better!

Or maybe not …

Photo credit: Simon Huggins


1 large egg or 1 egg and one yolk
1 ¼ cup whole milk
1 cup minus 2 T. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 T. melted butter
Pinch of salt

Butter for frying

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Photo credit: C. Bertelsen

Put flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Break in the egg and yolk. Whisk the eggs and about ¼ cup of the milk, gradually incorporating the flour, to make a smooth cream. Whisk in the rest of the milk, the melted butter, and a pinch of salt.

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Photo credit: C. Bertelsen

Heat 8-inch crêpe pan over medium-high heat.

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Photo credit: C. Bertelsen

Add about ½ t. of butter to pan.

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Photo credit: C. Bertelsen

Take a 1/4 cup measure, fill with batter, and swirl in pan.

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Photo credit: C. Bertelsen

Cook over medium-high heat until spots show on one side.

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Photo credit: C. Bertelsen

Flip, and cook briefly on the other side. Keep adding butter to the pan in between “cooks.”

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Photo credit: C. Bertelsen

Stack. Serve stacked with syrup or rolled up, filled with jam, butter, and/or sugar.

Makes about eight pancakes.

*Thought to be a very good way to begin Lent. With a clean slate!

© 2010 C. Bertelsen


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Tracy, hope you enjoy the pancakes — I’m serving them after dinner tonight rolled up with cherry jam inside, vanilla ice cream, and sliced almonds on top.


  2. Cynthia

    Looks good! I will try these for breakfast this week.
    Thanks for sharing your receipe and information.

    Tracy :)


  3. Thanks, Mae! I liked that one, too. It reminded me a tad bit of Julia Child and her omelette show.

    Maria, you can sprinkle powdered sugar on top or pipe some whipped cream on top, too. Some people strew a little of the berry filling on top and garnish with a mint leaf. I think anything goes …


  4. mae says:

    I love the photo of the pancake on the sidewalk! I hope you’ll have more Lenten stories for us this week; so far I’ve enjoyed them.


  5. maria says:

    they look delicious
    i’m making these tomorrow
    topping suggestions ??


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