Today is Shrove Tuesday which to me has always been referred to as "Pancake Day." Perishables like eggs and dairy products, which are generally banned during Lent, need to be used up and if you practice religious holidays this is your last night to indulge in rich, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. There is no better way to use up these ingredients today than in our favourite breakfast treat... pancakes!!
In Britain and several other countries around the world, Pancake Day is celebrated with fun games and of course a lot of eating. As a child I loved the fact that we could have "breakfast for dinner". We would get into our pyjamas and sit around the large wooden dining room table wolfing down as many pancakes as we could handle at such a tender age. Even if you don't follow religious holidays Pancake Day is a time to celebrate!!!! In my books ANY excuse to celebrate with food is a good thing!!
Of course Canada is not the only country celebrating this time of year. Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday" (in English tradition, Shrove Tuesday) in New Orleans, what’s known as Paczki Day (pronounced much like ‘punch-key’) in Poland, and then there is Italy with Carnavale....all celebrations whose roots began in using up perishables before the Lenten season.
We always celebrated Pancake Day when we were kids, so, in the naivety of a child I thought it was a British thing. What kid, or adult for that matter, wouldn't want to have pancakes for supper with loads of Canadian maple syrup!!!! You don't have to be British, Catholic, Polish, follow Lent or be in New Orleans or Italy to have some delicious pancakes for supper on Shrove Tuesday!!I don't let that get in my way!!!! Of course I am not partying it up as they are in New Orleans but am celebrating in my own quiet way.
I decided to amp it up and create special pancakes especially for today. Would I go for pancakes with bacon, apple or corn? I wisely opted for these cocoa flavoured pancakes with their out of this world mascarpone cheese topping which make for a not too sweet tiramisu-inspired treat. This is the perfect way to start or end your day. The idea for these pancakes came from Ivory Hut . You would expect them to be sweet like their namesake but they are perfectly balanced in flavour and texture. So depending on where you are be sure to enjoy the festivities... Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Fastnacht Day or Fausnaught Day!!!! Amp up your breakfast or "breakfast for dinner" with these not too sweet cocoa-flavoured rendition of the traditional pancake. Food has no calories today. It's a known fact....
For the pancakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, slightly rounded, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a generous pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cups sour cream
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons instant coffee
For the glaze (optional):
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
For the cream:
4 oz.(1/2 cup) mascarpone cheese
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Start by preparing the cream and the glaze. For the cream, beat all ingredients together and whip until you have soft peaks. Set aside in the refrigerator. (Tip: this cream tastes amazing, and is what really makes these pancakes. If you like generous amounts of cream on your pancakes, you might want to make a double portion.) The glaze is optional, but very, very (and I mean very) good. Simply combine the ingredients well. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make sure the cocoa powder is well sifted, so that it will dissolve evenly.
In a separate bowl, combine the milk and sour cream until smooth (it helps to slowly dilute the sour cream with the milk while whisking, which reduces the chances of clumps). Add the instant coffee powder and mix well until dissolved. Whisk in the eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing gently until you have a slightly lumpy batter but without any large clumps of flour. If batter is a little runny, add a tablespoon or two of flour. I like to transfer my batter to a measuring cup or something else with a spout, for easier cooking.
Let the batter sit while you preheat your griddle. When griddle is hot, drop batter in portions desired (1/4 cup for regular-sized pancakes) onto the greased griddle. When bubbles come up and edges look cooked, gently flip to cook the other side. Once pancakes are cooked, transfer to a plate. Spread a small amount of the maple glaze over the top of the pancake so it soaks in while still hot. Continue with the remaining batter until done.
To serve, dollop a generous amount of the cream in between layers of pancakes. Top with more cream, and then top with shaved chocolate, or a light dusting of sifted cocoa powder.
Serve with extra cream and/or glaze on the side for dipping. A bonus: these pancakes taste amazing even when cold.
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