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Fat Tuesday 2011: Recipes for the Eve of Ash Wednesday

What is Fat Tuesday? Also known as Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday, it’s a day of celebration and feasting on fatty foods on the eve of the ritual fasting of Lent, which begins tomorrow – Ash Wednesday. Thin pancakes are traditional Fat Tuesday fare, as are beignets, French fritters similar to doughnuts, only square and without holes, fried in oil and doused in powdered sugar.

If you’d like something a little healthier to provide a ballast against all this fried food, try simmering a classic pot of red beans and rice – with or without meat. If you’re all about tradition, try making some sweet, buttery pecan pralines, king cake or deep-fried mini Mars bars. Or make traditional shrove Tuesday pancakes, with cinnamon-sugar, jam, sauteed apples or a shmear of Nutella.

Thin Shrove Tuesday Pancakes

1 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. butter, melted, or canola oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
pinch salt

extra oil, butter or nonstick spray for cooking with

Pulse the milk, eggs and butter in a blender until foamy or whisk until well blended; add the remaining ingredients and pulse or whisk until smooth. Let the batter sit for half an hour.

When ready to cook, preheat a large skillet or griddle and brush it with butter or oil or spray it with nonstick spray. Pour about a quarter cup onto the skillet and tilt it around so that it runs into a circle. Cook until the top loses its gloss, which should only take a minute or two, then flip. The bottom should be golden. Cook the other side for about 30 seconds and then slide out onto a plate. Keep warm in a 250F oven or serve right away spread with butter, sugar and cinnamon, jam or Nutella, and folded or rolled up.

Makes about 12 thin pancakes.

For more Fat Tuesday inspiration, check out Babble’s slideshow of Mardi Gras recipes!

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