Today is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day which marks the start of Lent. Traditionally pancakes were eaten on Shrove Tuesday as a way of using up ingredients before people starting fasting during the 40 days of Lent, which symbolise the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness at the start of His ministry. Although today we may not give up things like fat and eggs during Lent, many people do give up something, like chocolate or alcohol. If you’re planning to give something up, I’d like to challenge you to think about why you are doing so and what it really means to you. And if you’re not planning to give something up then why not start doing something instead, like reading the Bible and taking time each day to reflect on what the cross and Easter are all about.
This year I feel like pancakes have been everywhere for me – we had them last night with friends, it was pancakes for pudding today at the pensioners’ lunch club that our church runs once a month and we’ll be having pancakes this evening for supper – sadly (for me) my husband, J, will probably beat me in any flip-pancakes-and-see-how-many-actually-make-it-fully-back-into-the-pan competitions we might hold tonight. I don’t know about you, but the thought of standing over a pan making a large medium (we’re not that greedy) quantity of pancakes seriously disinclines me from making anything else for supper, so we sometimes start with savoury pancakes made with chopped tomato and grated cheese (and you can add some bacon if you’re someone who can’t be without meat at your evening meal) before moving onto sweet pancakes. Both of us are fairly traditional in the way we like our pancakes – lemon, maple syrup, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash (or a glug if it is me pouring) of cream. Today, however, I thought I’d mix things up a little and make some caramel sauce to go with our pancakes. And then I thought I’d share the recipe here, in case you too would like caramel sauce on your pancakes. As usual, all the cup measurements were made using a 250 ml mug. The basic quantities make about three quarters to one cup of sauce. You can make this go further by adding more cream once the basic sauce is cool (which you can also do if you prefer a runnier consistency) or by doubling the recipe, or both.
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup of cold water
A small squeeze of lemon juice
7 rounded dessertspoons light brown sugar
3/4 cup double cream (plus more if you want a runny-ish sauce)
What do do:
Sadly I didn’t take any pictures as I made this, so you’ll have to imagine them. Place the water, lemon juice and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil whilst gently stirring the whole time. Then boil vigorously (I had mine on very nearly full heat) for about four minutes, gently stirring every so often to stop bits of sugar sticking to the bottom. Towards the end of this time the large bubbles should have subsided and you’ll have a syrupy but still very bubbly mixture at the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and then slowly add the cream, mixing as you do so. Pour the sauce into a jug and cool completely. As I mentioned above, if you want slightly more sauce or a runnier consistency (the mixture will thicken as it cools) add extra cream once the sauce is cool (or as it is cooling if you’re as impatient as me). If you do add extra cream, do so by small amounts, completely mixing the cream in after each dollop and tasting it frequently to make sure you’re happy with the taste. Adding a lot of extra cream in one go entails the risk that it the sauce will no longer be sweet enough – if that happens, I suggest you make up some more sugar/water/lemon mixture and then mix the sauce/cream into it when you turn off the heat.
Happy pancake eating!!