Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Forgettable Shrove Tuesday; Memorable Baked Pancakes.

In all its Shriven Glory.
 I always forget about Shrove Tuesday.  How could I not when it is so obviously overshadowed by the infinitely more exciting Mardi Gras and Carnival?  Who wouldn't prefer gorging on Cajun food or dancing in Rio to being "shriven?"  Even with Papa Ratzi resigning in a somewhat foreboding reminder of of the Lenten season being upon us, I can't help but want to celebrate, pull out the marks, have a last hurrah of sorts.

I also forget Shrove Tuesday because, as a more somber holy day, I tend to associate it with my time in England.  In England it's known as Pancake Day (see my brief classicized homage here) - a time to use up the larder's contents before the fasting of Lent.  "What better way than to make pancakes (or, technically, crepes in the case of Britain)?" said nobody, ever. :) 

Well, they're not gumbo, that's for sure (And I even had my act together and put a batch of my wonderful gumbo in the freezer for the occasion!).  And did I mention I even bought Roman a Mardi Gras mask!?  But the other day I received the random newsletter I still get from the lovely deli / gourmet food store I used to frequent in my London Days: Melrose & Morgan.  And in it was contained a recipe for something I'd never really tried before (gasp!): baked pancakes.

My curiosity was sufficiently stirred.  And since Matt is in Florida for most of the week (back in time to make me Valentine's Dinner though :)), I figured we'd go with pancakes for dinner tonight.  Roman was thrilled.  As was I - with the result, that is.

It's fitting that a British deli should post this recipe - the result is like a flatter, eggier, more crepe-y Yorkshire Pudding.  I loved it.  I'd recommend making more than one as Roman and I greedily split one together and I could easily have had more.  But then I'm a bit of a piggy.

This recipe comes from David Eyre and was published in the infamous Essential New York Times Cookbook from back in 1966.  Can't wait to get my hands on the 2011 reprint.
The recipe is currently featured on the Melrose & Morgan webpage, but I'll copy it below as I'm certain it will be gone soon enough as we move onto other exciting, seasonal goodies.

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David Eyre's Baked Pancakes
Makes 1 large pancake (crepe) to share
I'd make more if I were you. :)

You'll note that the ingredients are also listed in grams and milliliters, as is the British custom.  I would take this moment to recommend that you use this as an opportunity to go out and buy a cheap but accurate kitchen scale.  Weighing ingredients in baking and pastry is something that should not be undervalued.  Significantly more accurate, therefore guaranteeing consistency over time.  Just my two cents. :)

80g (a little less than 1/2 cup) Plain flour
120ml (1/2 cup) of milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional, but do it)
Pinch of salt
30g (2Tbsps) butter

For serving:
2 Tbsp icing sugar
Juice of half a lemon


Preheat your oven to 425F (220C).

Mix all ingredients except butter, icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl.  Do not over-mix.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch (or 10-inch, in a real pinch) pan.

Once melted, pour the batter and place in the oven for exactly 10-12 minutes (or until the edges are golden).

DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN until the time is up!

Sprinkle with icing sugar and lemon juice.  Serve warm with jam or maple syrup.

Yum.  I feel shriven. :)

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