Wednesday 13 February 2013

What is the difference between a pancake and a crepe?

This year, I actually remembered it was Shrove Tuesday before the day, usually I forget until after it has passed so we end up eating pancakes late! For those who are not in the know, Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the start of lent and traditionally pancakes are eaten so you can use up all the rich food in the house before the fast starts.

It is also tradition to toss the pancakes, of course Ebi-kun wanted to try too - at least our dinner didn't end up on the floor! Did you know, pancake tossing has been going since at least 1445?

I imagine some people are looking and these and thinking crepe not pancake! I have done some googling and from what I can ascertain... crepes are thinner and larger than an English pancake, they usually have richer ingredients including sugar and or cream and are only cooked on one side. English pancakes are made with plain flour (no rising agent), egg and milk. They are cooked on both sides, although the second side usually only takes 30 seconds or so. 

Both crepes and English pancakes can be served with sweet or savoury fillings and are usually rolled or folded with the filling inside. Crepe is also the French name for pancake and they are cooked in a crepe pan. The Italians have crespella, the Brazillians panquecas, the Dutch pannenkoeken and Austria palatschinke they are all very similar to the crepe or English pancakes but sometimes have slightly different ingredients such as adding sweet wine to the batter.

American pancakes also know as hotcakes are a whole different kettle of fish, they are made using a rising agent and often buttermilk. They are smaller in diameter and thick and fluffy. They are usually served with sweet toppings such as butter and maple syrup and fruit. American pancakes are a closer relation to Scotch pancakes and pikelets than English pancakes.

Pancake lesson over!

We had ours with chicken and spinach in a garlic cream sauce...

Then, as in good tradition with lemon and sugar for pudding. Yum!

So, pancakes - how do you eat yours? Share in the comments section below.


  1. I just come to know this tradition right now, thanks to the blogsphere. It's so nice how many possibilities we have to celebrate the seasons around the world! BTW they look yummy : )

  2. All the things I've just learnt! I started using an American recipe a few yrs ago, oil, egg and milk, and SR sifted flour WITH baking powder- I love the big thick fluffy ones! Luckily I only bother about once every three months, otherwise I'd be the size of a house! And I forgot again this year...

  3. Very interesting, just confirmed what I already knew and settled an argument, thank you very much! In south Africa we call them pancakes / pannekoek and have them almost exclusively with cinnamon sugar, still an unbeatable flavour!


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