Posted: Tue 13th Feb 2024

Pancake Day: Dive into the tradition of Shrove Tuesday with a delicious Welsh twist

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is more than just a day for indulgence; it’s steeped in history, marking the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Historically, Lent—a 40-day period leading up to Easter—was a time for fasting.

Shrove Tuesday, therefore, became the last opportunity for Anglo-Saxon Christians to use up eggs and fats, leading to the creation of pancakes as a perfect solution.

This day is symbolised by the ringing of the “Pancake Bell,” a tradition that continues to call people to confession and, subsequently, to the kitchen.

The date of Shrove Tuesday varies each year, falling 47 days before Easter Sunday, which means it can be any date between February 3 and March 9.

This year, it will be observed today, February 13th, providing a perfect occasion to delve into the culinary traditions that accompany this day.

While traditional English pancakes are thin and served immediately, Wales offers its unique take on the pancake with Crempog.

Thicker than crepes and larger than pikelets, Crempog are a delightful variation that reflects the rich Welsh culinary tradition.

Made with ingredients like buttermilk, oats, and sometimes enriched with raisins or currants, these pancakes are a hearty alternative to their thinner counterparts.

Crempog are traditionally enjoyed on Shrove Tuesday, but their appeal extends throughout the year.

Whether smothered in butter and sliced like a cake or enjoyed with a simple spread of jam, these pancakes are a testament to the versatility and depth of Welsh cuisine.

Historically cooked on a bakestone, today’s Crempog can be easily made in a modern frying pan, bringing this piece of Welsh heritage into homes around the world.

To make your own Crempog this Pancake Day, you’ll need:

  • 2 oz/ 55g butter
  • 15 fl oz/ 450 ml warm buttermilk
  • 10 oz/ 275g all-purpose/plain flour
  • 3 oz/ 75g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 free-range eggs, well beaten

Begin by melting the butter into the warm buttermilk, then gradually mix into the flour, creating a smooth base.

After allowing the mixture to stand, add the remaining ingredients to form a smooth batter. Cook spoonfuls of the batter on a greased griddle until golden brown, serving warm with your choice of toppings.

As Shrove Tuesday beckons, the tradition of making pancakes offers a moment of reflection and celebration before the solemnity of Lent.

Whether you opt for the thin English pancake or the thick Welsh Crempog, the act of preparing and sharing these dishes ties us to centuries of history and culture.

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