Now is the time a year when we celebrate Maslenitsa and Shrove Tuesday. While both have long history and stem from religious reasons, it is the abundance of pancakes during the celebrations that we all know these holidays for. So I think it is a perfect time to share with you the best pancake recipe I have discovered over the years – not only delicious, but also gluten and sugar free. An ultimate guilt-free treat!
But before we move on to the pancakes, let me tell you more about the tradition of Maslenitsa and Shrove Tuesday. Even though the idea behind both is an indulgent celebration before the Great Lent starts in an approach to Easter, there are slight differences between the two traditions.
Maslenitsa, which is characteristic to Eastern Slavic cultures, lasts a whole week. This time is the last chance to partake in consumption of dairy products (meat is already not allowed by then) before the first day of Lent start. Historically, Maslenitsa was a way to use up the remaining butter, eggs and milk in order to keep them from being wasted during the 40 days of Lent. Maslenitsa is also known as a period when we say good bye to the cold days of winter and get ready for the awakening of spring. This is another reason why pancakes are an essential part of this celebration. A symbol of sun – round, hot, golden and delicious. The seven days of Maslenitsa were filled not only with copious amount of pancakes, but also with celebrations (sleigh riding, snowball fights and other winter fun activities). In fact, during the last 4 days of celebrations, any form of work was forbidden. Celebrations culminated with Sunday of Forgiveness – when people ask forgiveness from one another and mend any relationship strains.
In other regions, pancake celebration originally lasted for only three days (rather than a whole week as was the tradition in Slavic regions) and culminated with what is known as Shrove Tuesday. By the beginning of 20th century, however, the celebrations were restricted to Shrove Tuesday only. (The term shrove meaning “to obtain forgiveness from one’s sins”.) The traditions of Shrove Tuesday are very similar to that of Maslenitsa and are characterised by celebrations and feasting on pancakes before the start of Lent.
While the strict adherence to Lent is no longer a widely followed tradition, the tradition of indulging in pancakes during Maslenitsa and/or Shrove Tuesday has remained – making both known colloquially as Pancake Day.
While I can not take credit for the below recipe – which I have discovered while reading “The Green Kitchen” by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl – I would love to share it with you as this genius five ingredient recipe has become a staple in our household.
The below quantities make enough pancakes for 1 person, so adjust according to how many people you are cooking for.
1 medium very ripe banana
A pinch of cinnamon
2 free-range eggs (I have also done this with egg whites and the recipe works well)
3 tablespoons of desiccated coconut
A large handful of blueberries (both fresh and frozen can be used here. I prefer to use fresh ones as they have less moisture in them and, rather than stain the pancake batter purple, provide bursts of colour when they pop on the heat)
Mash the banana with a fork until you have paste like consistency. Stir in the cinnamon and eggs and mix well. Add the shredded coconut and stir to incorporate. Finally stir in the blueberries.
Warm some coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry small portions of batter until one side is golden brown, then flip and fry on the other side. Keep warm while you finish making the rest of the pancakes.
These delicious hot golden rounds with specks of purple blueberry can be served on their own or with a drizzle of maple syrup. An indulgent pancake stack that can be enjoyed guilt-free!