Close your eyes and think of what you're going to make this Pancake Day. Perhaps you are envisaging stacks of thick, American-style pancakes dripping with maple syrup… or maybe you're leaning towards big, thin crêpes sweetened with lemon and sugar.
Every nationality has a different pancake recipe and they all vary tremendously. Sweet, savoury, thin or fat, there don't seem to be any hard rules.
Let's look at China, for example, where flaky pan-fried pancakes called cong you bing are made from dough rather than batter. Finland prefers its pannukakku to be sweet, puffy and oven-baked in a round or rectangular pan. As for the good people of Holland, they're all about poffertjes – miniature, puffed-up pancakes which are served piled up high and smothered in butter and icing sugar. These are not to be mistaken with Eastern European-style blinis, which (also made with buckwheat flour) are enjoyed savoury, topped with caviar or smoked salmon.
To celebrate the breadth and variety that comes under the pancake umbrella, we've put together some of our favourites so this Shrove Tuesday you can do something bigger and batter than you did last year...
Brits are known for their funny old traditions, and Pancake Day is certainly no exception. Are there any other nations that consider it perfectly normal to race each other whilst tossing pancakes? These British pancakes are simple but lovely, served with lemon wedges and a sprinkling of sugar.
DUTCH BABY PANCAKES
Fooled you – despite the name, these Dutch baby pancakes are actually American. With a Yorkshire pudding-style batter, these tasty popovers are always baked in the oven and often dusted with icing sugar.
AMERICAN PANCAKE STACK
Holy moly, no wonder these beauties are the US of A’s favourite breakfast. Gorgeously fluffy and golden pancakes, served with maple syrup and grilled crispy bacon. Totally awesome.
GERMAN APPLE PANCAKES
Known as apfelpfannkuchen in Germany, these fruity baked German apple pancakes are filled with apples and cinnamon. Wunderbar with a dollop of ice cream.
The French always have to make everything more flamboyant - including their pancakes. These classic crêpes suzette are served in an orange sauce and flambéed – set alight – before serving. Ooh la la.