Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday. Whatever you call it, there is only one thing to do today: eat all of the pancakes.
As a kid, my favourite meal was pancakes and “chachiches” (read: garbled baby-speak for breakfast sausages) so Pancake Tuesday has always been a favourite of mine. To be honest, I think the tradition of tucking into a big old stack of fluffly little cakes for dinner on a mid-winter Tuesday is one of the only unchanged holiday rituals us Berg’s have. Christmas has been bent to accommodate new families, Easter is spent sans Mama Berg as she usually skidaddles down South for a girl’s trip, and Thanksgiving is kind of just a free-for-all. Somehow, thankfully, Pancake Tuesday has stood the test of time.
The idea of “Fat” days has been recently expanded by my hubs’ Polish heritage. He introduced me to “Fat Thursday” where you are meant to indulge in these gigantic Polish doughnuts called Paczki. Holy bananas, are they ever tasty but do be warned: some that appear to be filled with chocolate are in fact filled with pureed prune. It’s not a wholly unpleasant flavour but it is quite a shock when you are expecting a rich chocolate ganache and are instead met with the unctuous, I guess sort of sweet, funk of a prune.
As per usual, I digress. Back to pancakes.
Here is my recipe for my current fave ‘cakes, lemon poppy seed. The zest of a lemon and speckley little poppy seeds makes this childhood favourite seem just a little more ‘adult’. Stacking them high and drowning with melting butter and warm maple syrup on the other hand is a total 4-year-old Mary move.
One can’t be expected to be grownup all the time.
Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
Makes 10 – 12 pancakes
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 ½ cup buttermilk
½ tsp vanilla
1 lemon, zested
Butter and canola oil, for cooking the ‘cakes
In a large non-stick skillet over low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and preheat your oven to 200F.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and lemon zest. Pour this wet mixture over the dry and stir about five times to slightly combine. Pour in the melted butter, placing the pan back over the heat, and stir the pancake batter just until it comes together but a few lumps still remain.
Turn the heat on the pan up to medium and pop a little pat of butter and a splash of oil in there to melt together. When the butter is bubbling, spoon about a ¼ cup of batter onto the skillet for each pancake and cook until bubbles start to appear on top. Check the underside to see if they are golden brown and flip. Cook about another 1 – 2 minutes on the second side and keep the pancakes warm in your oven until all of the batter is used up.
Serve warm with lots of butter, maple syrup, fruit, and maybe some lemon curd!
Notes: If you’re looking for plain old pancakes, just omit the poppy seeds and lemon zest.
If you find yourself with any leftovers, place a small square of wax or parchment paper between each pancake, wrap the stack well with plastic, and pop in the freezer. To reheat, just use your toaster!