WITH SHROVE Tuesday falling on February 13, we are taking a look at the UK’s favourite pancake toppings.
Research from cookware retailer Circulon – circulon.uk.com – last year trawled Google for searches of ‘pancake topping ideas’.
In 2023 there was an increase of 52 per cent in searches, compared top the year before as Brits prepared their pans to celebrate the traditional pre-Easter day.
The research also found that ahead of Shrove Tuesday, which marks the start of Lent in the Christian Calendar, there was an 24 per cent increase in people looking to find the perfect pan to cook their pancakes in.
A total of 2,000 UK residents were quizzed to find the most popular sweet and savoury toppings that would be tickling our tastebuds.
The nation’s favourite pancake toppings
It probably will come as no surprise that top of the toppings in the UK was the very traditional ‘lemon juice and sugar’ with 34 per cent of Brits enjoying pancakes with the juice either from a bottle (we all remember those Jif Lemon ads) or from the fruit itself.
Next up for Shrove Tuesday connoisseurs was honey or maple syrup – the latter seeing an Trans-Atlantic influence from America and Canada – the world’s largest exporter of maple products in terms of value and volume. A total of eight per cent of pancake eaters opted for honey or maple syrup.
Making up the rest of the top five was Nutella or chocolate chips (seven per cent) and in joint fourth was Nutella and banana and just sugar (six per cent).
Four per cent of pancake consumers went for just lemon juice alone (probably healthier than with sugar as well) and an equal amount – obviously with very sweet teeth – chose sugar and golden syrup.
The first savoury option made its appearance in joint sixth with ham and cheese or the vegetarian alternative – that was four per cent.
And, rounding off the top ten was Biscoff spread (three per cent) and just cheese (two per cent).
Less popular toppings
Circulon’s survey also highlighted some unconventional pancake toppings including baked beans – in Manchester, two per cent of people admitted that was their favourite topping.
Other out-of-the-ordinary additions included Marmite, mayonnaise, ketchup or brown sauce.
In Norwich, three per cent of residents preferred an American inspired topping with PB&J (peanut butter and jelly – ‘jam’ to UK residents).
And other unusual toppings included the Branston pickle, and a combination of peanut butter and ice cream.
The origins of Shrove Tuesday
According to English Heritage, Christians traditionally celebrate Shrove Tuesday 40 days before Easter Sunday to mark the time Jesus spent fasting in the desert.
They would mark the period with prayers and fasting, cutting out a variety of foods, including meat, eggs, fats, fish and milk.
The word ‘shrove’ comes from the old Roman Catholic word ‘shriven’ – to confess one’s sins. The shriving bell would be rung on Shrove Tuesday to call people to church to confess.
On Shrove Tuesday, foods which could not be eaten during Lent, such as eggs, butter and fats, would be used up which has influenced the practice of making pancakes – made from eggs, flour and milk.
Christians today still forfeit certain pleasures during Lent with the most popular including alcohol, coffee and chocolate.
However you are celebrating – have a ‘flipping great’ Shrove Tuesday.