In the UK, many people only eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake day, these are usually thin large crepe style pancakes. Whereas American style pancakes tend to be thicker, smaller and fluffier, and often eaten for breakfast. There’s so many diifferent names for pancakes around the world, with different traditions for how they’re eaten.
Check out my list of things to do with eggs
The history of pancakes
Both the ancient Greeks and Romans recorded pancakes being eaten although there is evidence that a type of flat ‘cake’ was eaten as far back as the Stone Age. Shrove Tuesday was a way of using up dairy and other ingredients in a final day of celebration and festivity before fasting for Lent.
Different names for pancakes around the world
Made from plain flour, milk and eggs to create a thin batter, and cooked in a frying pan. Pancakes the British way, were traditionally served with a squeeze of lemon and scattering of sugar (the best way in our family’s view!).
Originating in France in Brittany (Bretagne) in the 12th Century, crepes were made from buckwheat, water and a little salt, although are now also made with white flour. They’re very thin, and can be savoury or sweet. Crepe Suzettes are probably the most famous dish, with sliced oranges and flambéed in alcohol.
American pancakes / griddle cakes
American pancakes are smaller, thicker and fluffier than the european origin pancakes. This is due to the rising agent included. They’re popular as breakfast staples.
Scotch pancakes or drop scones
Similar to the thicker fluffier American pancakes, but smaller in size. Scotch pancakes are sweeter than most other pancake recipes.
The Welsh pikelet is more like a crumpet, but the Australian/New Zealand version is very similar to Scotch pancakes. Made with self raising flour, they have a thicker batter than pancakes. Served plain or with jam or fruit and cream.
Oatcakes are a savoury pancake made with yeast, oatmeal and wholewheat flour, hailing from various counties like Staffordshire and Derbyshire in England. I’ve tried these once, and found them really heavy and stodgy. I much prefer traditional pancakes.
Other ‘pancakes’ from around the world
- Slapjack – thin batter cake fried in a pan
- Hotcake – usually thicker and denser than blini
- Blintz – a filled rolled crepe of Yiddish origin
- Blin or blini – Russian pancake traditionally made from wheat or buckwheat flour, bitesize and served as appetisers
- Boxty from Ireland, potato based.
- Okonomiyaki from Japan.
- Bao bing from China.
- Roti jala from Malaysia.
- Dosa from India
- Baghrir and mofletta fom Morocco.
- Chorreadas from Costa Rica
- Massa from Benin.
- Injera from Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The most popular pancake toppings (in the UK)
- Lemon & sugar 34 % prefer simple topping
- Maple syrup 14 %
- Strawberries & cream 12 %
- Nutella 12 %
- Banana 6 %
- Treacle 5 %
- Ice cream 5 % (this reminds me of the 1980-90s Little Chef Jubilee Pancakes dessert, pancakes with cherry pie filling and a slab of vanilla ice cream)
- Mixed berries 4 %
- Caramel 4 %
- Whipped cream 4 %
What do you call pancakes where you’re from?