On Pancake Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday), many of us follow the tradition of eating crepes or pancakes, but do we all know the meaning of this popular practice? It takes its roots in the Christian calendar. Shrove Tuesday (Mardi-Gras in French, which translates to ‘Fat Tuesday’) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.
Lent reminds Christians of Christ’s fasting for 40 days in the desert. Before entering the fasting period, Christians used to indulge in food on Shrove Tuesday and that festive diet included rich, fatty dishes, hence the name Mardi-Gras.
At Lambay Whiskey we have strong connections with our French neighbours, our casks come from House Camus, the home of fine Cognac in France. We use these casks to finish our whiskeys and so it is only fair that we doff our cap to that.
So why not respect the tradition and plan a Pancake Tuesday meal with a French touch? When it comes to pairing whiskey and pancakes, it all depends on what you eat them with.
If you stick to the simple butter and sugar topping – maybe with a dash of lemon juice – you might like to go for our Lambay Small Batch Blend, matured in Bourbon casks, and finished for short period in cognac casks. Or you may prefer our Lambay Malt Irish which again has salt notes but a stronger malt note and a complex finish due to the longer period of finishing in the cognac cask. The harmony of both will focus on the vanilla notes and creamy texture.
To flambé or not to flambé?
With our French connections, we do love a little bit of flambé in our dishes sometimes. As they say “what you gain in the show is lost in flavour”. But we would make an exception for pancakes. Maybe because of the emblematic Crêpes Suzette. Even Bob Dylan refers to them in Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream:
‘I went to a restaurant…
‘I ordered some Suzette
‘I said: “Could you please make that crepe?”
‘Just then the whole kitchen exploded
‘From boilin’ fat.’
Crêpes Suzette is usually laced with a Grand Marnier and Cognac syrup flavoured with orange juice and zest. They are flambéed with Grand Marnier in front of the guests – usually seated at your favourite restaurant. But alas most of us are staying home so why not give this a try?
Now we are not advising you to set your kitchen on fire but it’s definitely worth creating this boozy pancake should you have the flair!
Our Lambay Whiskey version would replace the Grand Marnier with our Lambay Malt Whiskey, still keeping some fruit notes from the whiskey along with adding a delicious honey syrup infused with fresh orange zest, voila! your next signature dish.
You could keep the Grand Marnier as the main spirit and serve the pancake with a glass of your favourite Lambay Whiskey, we’ll let you decide!
Below is our simple recipe to get you started!
Pinch of salt
50g melted butter or 1tbsp oil
2tsp sugar (if dessert pancakes)
Crushed Pistacios nuts
Method: Lightly beat the eggs, add them to the flour with salt and sugar (if making a sweet recipe). Mix and slowly add the milk, and then the butter. Leave to rest for one hour or so. Of course, you have the option to flavour the batter with a good dash of whisky, the choice depending on what you will fill your pancakes with.
Heat a non-stick frying pan until very hot then add a little oil. Pour in one ladleful of pancake mix, quickly turning the pan to coat the base evenly with the batter. Cook for 30 seconds to one minute until the base is lightly browned. With a palette knife, flip the pancake and cook on the other side for a few seconds. Repeat the process and keep the pancakes warm. The challenge is to make the pancakes as thin as possible.
For added flavour, try these simple tips: add two tablespoons of grated lemon or orange zest to the batter; replace sugar with maple syrup or clear honey; for a savoury dish, add chopped herbs to the batter (dill, tarragon, or coriander); or replace the melted butter with truffle oil.
Or simply serve with a sweet rhubarb compote and crushed pistachios.
To discover other whiskey and food pairing recommendations for Lambay Whiskey click here.