Feb 11

Shrove Tuesday : Coconut Pancakes with Mango & Passionfruit Yoghurt


Coconut Pancakes



Ahhh … Shrove Tuesday; Pancake Tuesday … whatever you want to call it, this day marks the final day in the Christian calendar where the fun and feasting of the new year stops, only to be replaced by reverence, reflection, lots of prayer and austere food for the next forty days. The month of Lent officially begins on Ash Wednesday and ends a month and a bit later on Easter Sunday. In the meantime, however, LET’S PARTAAAAAY!!



I don’t exactly know when or who started the tradition, but it would seem that pancakes became the item of choice to eat on the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday to use up “rich and indulgent” ingredients such as eggs, butter, milk and sugar before embarking on the month-long period of fasting and abstinence. Having been raised a Catholic myself, the month of Lent was observed rather strictly in our house, and I was none too pleased about it (although I didn’t dare voice my discontent … much). While we weren’t expected to fast like Mum or Dad, we did have to give up certain luxuries like candy, ice cream and the watching of television. GAH! Meals were scaled down considerably and consisted mainly of fish and simple vegetables along side plain rice. Once, Mum even tried to get us to eat plain unleavened bread for our dinner but it was a botched recipe so that was the last of that attempt.



Everything about the Lentern season is so droll and dreary. Understandably so, since it is the holiest of religious obligation in the Christian calendar, and it is observed as such.  No fun. No music. No nothing. Which is why I think people hammed it up so much in the days leading up to Lent. Just say the words Mardi Gras and Carnivale and one immediately conjures up images of all-night street parties, non-stop feasting and merry-making. Essentially, bedlam. It has been my life’s dream to attend Carnivale celebrations in Venice. Haven’t done it yet, but I believe one day I shall (pffft … excuses are for losers!) While I have yet to experience pre-Lent revelry Venetian style, I have had the good fortune to attend one in Luzern, Switzerland last year … and we didn’t even plan it … it just kinda happened.



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In February last year, R and I were doing a tour of Switzerland and we had just finished our three day visit over the alps, in Lake Como, Italy. We stopped in Lugano for lunch then hopped onto the next hi-speed train heading directly to Luzern city. We had booked accommodation with an English chap named Bill, who owns a pub in town. He said he’d meet us at the train station even tho we insisted this was not necessary. Nice guy, Bill … and his home was even nicer! Perched on a hill in a very posh looking neighbourhood, overlooking lake Luzern was where we found ourselves putting up for the final few days of our trip. It was a 3-bedroom house with wood floors, a large living-dining area, French doors leading out onto the patio and gardens (with a pool to use in summer), decent kitchen, two bathrooms and a basement that seemed to branch off into other rooms. He gave us the use of the master bedroom and boy, did it come with some stunning views! From our bedroom window we had the sprawling lake in front of us and in the distance we could see the city centre. You can read more on this subject here.



Carnivale Luzern




Carnivale Luzern2



Carnivale Luzern3



Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! So happy with our choice of accommodation. If ever you’d like to experience Bill’s hospitality, I’ll provide you details at the bottom of this post. Bill has a number of accommodation options in Luzern, and not just at his personal house.I think he has something like seven other tourist accommodation sites around the city, ranging from rooms for two, to entire apartments with all mod-cons included.



Anyway, now on with pancakes.These are going to be sweet, American-style pancakes with a tropical punch. I figured I needed a little pick-me-up from all this winter weather ~ it’s been snowing again these past three days. I am ready for brighter flavours on my plate and I am going to kick it off with these pancakes. I made these wonderful pancakes for the first time three years back, when I just started dating R. (awwww…!), and I was eager to impress with my then meager culinary skills. I think I got the idea from an Australian Women’s Weekly magazine advertisement for coconut flavoured evaporated milk; you know, the kind that says, “Here, buy our product. Why?? Because you can make these yummy pancakes!” Pancakes are so easy to make tho, your kids could probably make them blindfolded. Anyway, start by sifting flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Sifting will help make light and airy pancakes.



Make a well and now add in the melted butter, the egg, vanilla extract, coconut milk (NOT coconut cream) and just a splash of buttermilk. If you simply cannot abide by adding coconut milk to the mix then a couple drops of coconut extract will do. Whisk it all together and then leave it aside for about 30 – 40 mins.



After 30 mins is over, heat your griddle pan or non-stick frying pan and smear some butter on the surface. Dollop some of the pancake batter onto it and just wait until you see bubbles start to form on the surface. You can make them as big as you want, but I like mine about medium, so I use a 1/2 cup measuring spoon to get even sized pancakes. The heat should not be on high otherwise you’ll burn the butter and you’d end up with black-bottomed pancakes. Icky! A nice gentle heat will do.



Once bubbles appear on the surface it is time to flip them over. Cook for a further 2 – 4 minutes until they are puffed and golden.



Serve on a plate. Smear a thin layer of fresh butter. Then spoon over some of that mango-passionfruit yoghurt. Top with cubed mangoes, toasted coconut flakes and passionfruit pulp drizzle. It’s really good to the last morsel, plus it is an excellent way to incorporate fresh fruit at breakfast.



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Ingredients: (feeds 4)

  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • 80 g butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup thin coconut milk (or coconut flavoured evaporated milk)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk will do)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tub mango-passion yoghurt
  • 1 fresh mango
  • 1 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • Pulp of 2 passionfruits




So there you go … delicious fluffy American-style pancakes for breakfast, with a healthy dollop of yoghurt and fruit. If you are not big on fruit or yoghurt in the morning (or EVER!), then perhaps I can interest you in a savoury variety instead? Just click here for the recipe on how to make delicious buckwheat pancakes with scrambled eggs + smoked salmon. Mmmm … just saying that makes my mouth water already.



~ Enjoy! ~



**Contact Bill here if you want a place to stay in Luzern, Switzerland





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