The term “Mardi Gras,” which in French means Fat Tuesday, refers to the centuries-old tradition of using up all the fat in the house before the austere six-week period of Lenten fasting starts. Strictly observed, Lent meant consuming no animal products whatsoever. Except in the Mediterranean countries of Europe, where olive oil was produced, animal fats were generally used for frying. Pancakes, crepes, fritters, crullers and waffles, sometimes consumed competitively in vast quantities, became traditional foods for Mardi Gras celebrations. A large puffy pancake called a Dutch baby fits right into the ritual. But these pancakes are excellent for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dessert with dinner throughout the year.
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Syrup, preserves, confectioners’ sugar or cinnamon sugar
3 to 4 servings
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine eggs, flour, milk, sugar and nutmeg in a blender jar and blend until smooth. Batter may also be mixed by hand.
- Place butter in a heavy 10-inch skillet or baking dish and place in the oven. As soon as the butter has melted (watch it so it does not burn) add the batter to the pan, return pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the pancake is puffed and golden. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake five minutes longer.
- Remove pancake from oven, cut into wedges and serve at once topped with syrup, preserves, confectioners’ sugar or cinnamon sugar.