Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Pancakes

Remember my children’s “Oh, Mom, not again,” upon hearing that cheese soufflé was on the dinner menu? (November 25, 2009 blog) Tuesday Pancakes was an entirely different story. Their response was most often “Yippee!” Maybe it was the strangeness and allure of having breakfast for dinner. Maybe it was the way the fat and batter puffed up magically in the hot oven. Maybe it was the powdered sugar and jam accompaniments. I don’t know, but the enthusiasm was genuine.

A few months ago, my former husband was clearing out some papers from his house in Chapel Hill and ran across some of my old cooking notes, recipe clippings, and a 1976 kids’ cookbook by The Youth Publications of The Saturday Evening Post called Holiday Cookbook. He bundled them up and shipped them to me in California. Flipping through the splattered and raggedy cookbook, I spotted the recipe for Tuesday Pancakes. I thanked him for sending me the box and told him of my discovery. He responded, “Could I have a copy of it?” Franz and Ben (the children, now 38 and 35) echoed his response, with smiles and a far-away look in their eyes, clearly remembering the wonder and the taste of them.

The page from the cookbook reveals that the Tuesday refers to Shrove Tuesday. I must admit that when I was making Tuesday Pancakes for my family back in the 80s, I didn’t pay the slightest attention to that fact. For me it was simply an easy way to feed my family and could have just as easily been called Monday Pancakes or Wednesday Pancakes.

Now that I am a member of First Congregational Church of Berkeley (FCCB), I have considerably more insight into Shrove Tuesday. It is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It is also known as Marti Gras or, in translation, Fat Tuesday. FCCB hosts an annual pancake supper. Pancakes became the custom on Fat Tuesday because they use fat, sugar, and eggs, three luxuries which one might give up for Lent. A blowout dinner in which you stuff yourself with the soon-to-be-forbidden foodstuffs seems entirely appropriate the night before you begin your fast. The celebrating at the FCCB includes, besides the supper, a parade with adults and kids around the room and then outside to bury the Alleluia banner which is dug up on Easter. For Lent, no one is allowed to say “Alleluia.” There is no Lenten rule at FCCB about fat, sugar, and eggs, I’m relieved to say.

Below you’ll find the recipe for Tuesday Pancakes which the Kunst family ate without paying one bit of attention to the liturgical calendar. They can be eaten any day of the year but on Tuesday, February 16, 2010, you will have the chance to celebrate Shrove Tuesday with pancakes and with whatever kind of carrying-on you desire. And who’s to stop you from trying them on February 18 or 20?

Tuesday Pancakes

You can have this pancake on the table in 30 minutes.

3 tablespoons butter
½ cup flour
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup sifted powdered sugar
Lemon juice, optional
Orange marmalade or other preserves, optional

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Beat together the flour, milk, salt, nutmeg, and eggs. Don’t worry about the lumps.
3. Melt butter in a 10-inch oven-proof skillet.
4. Pour the mixture into the very hot skillet.
5. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the pancake has puffed up.
6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar. Serve immediately before the pancake deflates.
7. At the table, encourage your table mates to squeeze lemon over the top and/or spread with marmalade or other preserves, if desired.

Makes 1 pancake. It will serve more than 1, but less than 3.
For 3 people, make 2 pancakes. Double the recipe and use two pans or skillets. Can bake at the same time.
For 4 people, make 3 pancakes. Triple the recipe and use two pans or skillets. Bake in two batches.
Adapted from Youth Publications/The Saturday Evening Post Company’s Holiday Cookbook. Text by Peg Rogers.

The photo shows Blueberry Preserves. Just excellent.


Tinky said...

I've never done a baked pancake, but I'm obviously going to have to try one soon. I loved the history in this and the look of the dish! I don't think I'm going to be able to wait until Lent is over.......

Holly said...

Can't wait to try this one! We love the souffle, so it sounds like this will be a slam dunk. Thanks, the hits just keep on comin'!

Holly (& Gary)

Holly said...

I just made this for Gary's birthday breakfast. We both loved it. So light and fluffy, easy to make too. A definite do-again!