A simple – but delicious – recipe for pancakes in time for Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Tuesday next week. Though this recipe doesn’t need to be confined to just one day a year! Serve them in the traditional manner with a little lemon juice and caster sugar (my preferred way to eat them) or however bests suits your palate.


This makes about 6 English style pancakes. What are English style pancakes? They are thin (a bit like a crepe) and made from a simple batter with no raising agent.

The nutritional information (right) is for the pancakes only and doesn’t include any butter used when cooking the pancakes or toppings added to the pancakes once cooked.

This recipe uses an imperial half pint of milk. An imperial pint is 20 fluid ounces, so this recipe uses 10 fluid ounces which is equivalent to 284ml. If you don’t have an imperial measuring jug then I would suggest using 285ml of milk (unless you can measure 284ml on your jug, then by all means do so!).

I find that a moderate heat works best when cooking these pancakes. On my stove this is a setting of ‘3’ out of the 6 temperature settings. At this setting the pancake will cook through without burning.

Let the pan get to temperature before making the first pancake. Don’t worry if the first pancake isn’t a roaring success, this is pretty common (just call it ‘rustic’ – or eat it in secret and deny it ever existed…).

Keep the temperature even during the cooking process, depending on your stove this may require lowering the heat if the frying pan starts to get too hot.

I use a heat-resistant spatula to flip the pancakes. I’ve found that I can get under the edge of the pancake and to the centre easily and cleanly with a spatula.

Lightly grease the frying pan between each pancake to ensure that they don’t stick to the pan.

Traditionally these are served with lemon juice and sugar. Once each pancake is cooked, remove it from the heat and sprinkle it with a little lemon juice and some caster sugar. Then either roll up or fold the pancake in quarters for serving. Seriously delicious!

Makes 6


    4 oz flour
    Pinch salt
    1 egg
    10 fl ounces milk (or 285ml of milk, see Notes above)

    Butter (or similar) for cooking the pancakes

    Lemon juice and caster sugar for serving (optional)

    Frying Pan with a 6” diameter base


  1. In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre.
  2. Add the egg and half the milk to the well in the dry ingredients. Whisk from the centre moving outwards to incorporate the mixture into a paste.
  3. Continue whisking while slowly pouring in the remaining milk and whisk until it is all fully incorporated. Leave the batter to sit for at least 30 minutes in a cool place.
  4. Heat a little butter in the frying pan over a moderate heat until hot. Using a heat-resistant brush, make sure there is a thin film of butter coating the entire base (and slightly up the sides) of the frying pan.
  5. Ladle enough batter into the pan to thinly coat the base of the frying pan. Fry for a few minutes until the batter cooks through. It will turn a yellow-ish colour and will ‘set’ (i.e. no longer run or wobble) and feel tacky to the touch.
  6. Using a heat-resistant spatula, loosen the edges of the pancake and then shimmy the spatula towards the centre of the pancake to fully loosen it. Flip the pancake and cook the other side for about 10 – 30 seconds or until it cooks (it will be a spotty brown).
  7. Once cooked keep warm till the pancakes are ready to be served.
The batter will transform from the initial cream colour (centre of the pancake pictured) into a more yellow colour once cooked (outer part of the pancake pictured).

Nerd Notification: Food History “Pancake Tuesday”

“Pancake Tuesday” (or “Pancake Day”) is the colloquial term used in the UK, Ireland, and Commonwealth, for Shrove Tuesday. It comes from the tradition of eating pancakes on this day.

But why eat pancakes on this day?

Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday and so it is traditional to use up and eat foods on this day that are rich in butter, eggs, and fat etc – all foods which were then given up during Lent. Shrove Tuesday is also known and celebrated as Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras (which is French for Fat Tuesday) for the same reasons.

Further Nerd Notification: Etymology

Shrove (n.)
Shrove is shortened from Shrovetide and comes from the past tense of Shrive (v.).1 Thus Shrove Tuesday was named after the custom of Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent (i.e. undergo penance).

Shrive (v.)
Shrive comes from the Old English scrifan (“impose penance, hear confession”) and also originally “to write”, coming from Proto-Germanic *skriban (“write; impose penance”). This in turn comes from the Latin scribere “to write” 2

1 etymonline
2 etymonline