Pancakes are a small disc-shaped sweet. They are made with a dough based on egg, milk and a pinch of yeast; to get that spongy texture that characterizes them. They are the perfect dessert or snack to treat ourselves; and who doesn’t like a good freshly made pancake? Warm, fluffy, and accompanied with lots of syrup… Or with whatever you prefer, because they are so versatile that they can be served with sweet or savory accompaniments. In addition, today is Pancakes Day, and we want to celebrate it knowing the history and origin of pancakes; and some other curiosities, as well as the versions that exist around the world. Do you want to know them?
We can even give a personal touch to the batter by adding extracts or essences, such as vanilla, spices, such as cinnamon or even oregano, parsley… Depending on the use we are going to give to our pancakes, don’t hesitate and prepare some delicious pancakes with chocolate batter or some vanilla-flavored pancakes to celebrate their day!
Pancakes are a food known all over the world, and they are very popular. This can be seen in the number of names it receives: hotcake, pancake, panqueca, arepuela… And we can take it both sweet, accompanied by virtually anything: syrups, ice cream, yogurt, fruit … As in salty. For example, one of the most typical and representative American breakfasts consists of pancakes with eggs and fried bacon, all accompanied with maple syrup.
Pancake Day and the history of its celebration
This celebration comes from the United Kingdom. There, Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, is a religious holiday celebrated every year on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which begins Holy Week.
The choice of this day could be related to the origin of pancakes in Lent, as we will see below.
In addition, to celebrate Pancake Day, in the United Kingdom there are also fun activities, such as the Pancakes Races. It is an original race in which participants have to run through the streets carrying pancakes in pans.
Legend has it that in 1445, the year to which this celebration dates back, in Olney, a British village, a woman was cooking pancakes. She was so concentrated that she forgot it was time to go to church. When she heard the bells that started the mass, the poor woman ran out in such a hurry that she took the pan with the pancake she was cooking with her to the church.
We do not know with certainty the veracity of this story, but it is so tender and amusing that it is worth telling.
We are going to celebrate Pancake Day knowing its history and origin, did you know that the history of Pancakes goes all the way back to Ancient Rome? Let’s take a look:
Did you know…
The world’s largest Pancake was baked in Rochdale (Greater Manchester) in 1994. It was 15 meters in diameter. And since the world of records is so colorful, we also found the world record for pancake throwing. The winner managed to reach a height of 329 cm with his pancake. Of course, we don’t know if he stayed in one piece when he fell.
History and Origin of the Pancakes
Although if we ask about the origin of this elaboration, we would all answer without hesitation: the United States! We were wrong. It is true that pancakes became very popular there, to the point of seeming to be their own elaboration. But if we go further back in the history of pancakes, we come to Ancient Rome. In between, there are many who claim that they originated in Russia.
Pancakes originated approximately in the 4th century A.D. At that time, during Lent, it was forbidden to eat, in addition to meat, foods such as eggs, milk, cheese and butter. The ingenuity of those who wanted to eat something different during Lent gave rise to the original pancakes. At that time they were made only with flour and water. With these two ingredients, they made a thin dough, which they cooked on very hot stones.
Later, some of these restrictions were eliminated. For example, they allowed the consumption of milk, eggs and sugar during Lent. And these three now permitted ingredients became part of the dough made with flour and water. The result was a sweet and fluffy dough, which today we know as Pancake.
Did you know that in the Middle Ages, the first three pancakes to be cooked were considered sacred?
For this reason, they were marked with a cross, then sprinkled with salt and separated from the rest so as not to eat them. In this way they warded off any evil.
Many historians trace the origin of the Pancake to Ancient Rome
Although we can still go back a few centuries in the history of pancakes, we reach the Ancient Rome, where there were already records of elaborations very similar to the current one.
If you have felt like celebrating this day with some good homemade pancakes, here is a very easy recipe to make pancakes, and some tricks to make them great.
Don’t know how to accompany your pancakes? Here are 15 ideas to accompany your pancakes. You have a multitude of options, from the sweetest and greediest to the healthiest and most original.
And we end our particular celebration of Pancake Day with some versions from different countries
This preparation is so popular that it has many versions depending on the country, let’s see some of them.
- Scotch Pancakes: They differ from the classic pancakes because they are slightly smaller, but thicker and fluffier. They are usually served with butter and jam.
- American pancakes. These pancakes have a lot of butter. And one of the big differences compared to the rest is the size of the pancakes. These are much larger.
American pancakes are very popular at breakfast, and it is common to serve them with bacon and eggs.
- Tiganites, in Greece. They are slightly thinner pancakes (but without reaching the texture of a crepe), and it is typical to accompany them with honey, cinnamon and yogurt.
- Raggmunk, in Sweden. Also a savory preparation, as they are made with potatoes.
- Kaiserchmarrn, in Austria. We could say that it is a deconstructed pancake. This elaboration consists of pieces of caramelized pancake, and is accompanied with dried fruits, raisins, fruits…
- Pannukakku, in Finland: We can say that it is a classic pancake but much larger. The Pannukakakku are cooked in a rectangular pan. It is more like a low sponge cake. Being so big, it has to be served in individual portions.
- Olady, in Russia, are made with yogurt or sour milk.
- Chinese Pancakes. There are two types of elaborations, the so-called Bao Bing, thinner, similar to crepes; and the Bing, although the latter is a generic term for all flat breads in the shape of a disk.
In Japan, pancakes are very fluffy, like many other typical Japanese desserts.
- Japanese Pancakes, or Hotcakes soufflé. They are extra fluffy pancakes, with a spectacular texture. The trick to get this texture is to whip the egg whites before adding them to the batter.
- Uttapam, India. The dough of these pancakes has fermented rice and black lentils. It is a savory pancake, seasoned with different spices and chopped onion.
- Cachapas, in Venezuela and Colombia. They are corn pancakes, and it is typical to serve them folded with fresh cheese in the center.
- Pikelets, in Australia: It is customary to serve Pikelets with jam and cream at tea time.
Did you know the history of pancakes? Do you dare to celebrate Pancake Day with a good tower of pancakes? Remember to leave us your comments, ideas, opinions…. We love to read you!