Guyanese pancakes for Mardi Gras

Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, is also known as Pancake Day.

Tastes Like Home
For Mardi Gras, malasadas, a Portuguese-style fried doughnut, is the breakfast of choice in Guyana.

Given that Tuesday is Shrove Tuesday or as we like to say Pancake Day, let's go crazy and batter up! Pour it, swirl it or drop it. Whether you make the traditional flat pancakes or the Portuguese-inspired Malasadas, that's a favourite in Guyana, be sure not to miss having pancakes on this official day that we get to really indulge.

Whether you make them small or large, stack 'em high and watch them disappear. Here's the recipe for the fried pancakes (malasadas), including a step-by-step demo. You'll find a recipe for homemade syrup too. I think that everyone knows how to make the flat pancakes right?

Guyanese Pancakes are different from the traditional flat pancakes and this is due to the Portuguese influence on the country's cuisine. In Portugal, these pancakes are known as Malasadas (a Portuguese-style fried doughnut).

These pancakes are made and served on the Tuesday before Lent. Once you have one of these pancakes, you feel compelled to finish the entire lot. They are that good.

They are meant to be served with homemade syrup (see recipe below).

Guyanese Pancakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Resting of batter: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Yield: 24 - 30 pieces

2 cups all purpose flour
1 heaped Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 heaped tsp instant yeast
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
3/4 cup warm milk (110 - 115 degrees F)
Oil for deep frying

Add flour, sugar, salt, yeast and cinnamon, if using to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

Add eggs and essence/extract to a small bowl and whisk gently (you just want to break up the eggs and get them mixed with the essence.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the eggs and milk and stir to mix and make a smooth, thick batter.

Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 and 1/2 hours or until the mixture has more than doubled in quantity.

Add oil to a deep frying pan and heat on medium heat until oil is hot (350 degrees F).

Working with 2 tablespoons, scoop and drop the batter into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Let fry for 1 minute until nicely browned all over. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Serve warm with a generous drizzle of homemade syrup.

Homemade syrup

This homemade syrup is traditionally made to go with the Guyanese-style pancakes that are served on the Tuesday before Lent. It is a syrup that you can make and use throughout the year on a variety of desserts and other baked goods.

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Yield: 1 1/4 cups

2 cups Demerara Sugar (substitute with cane sugar or packed brown sugar)
1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick
1 cup water

Add sugar, cinnamon stick and water to a medium sized sauce pot. Turn the heat to medium high and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Bring the mixture to a boil then immediately reduce heat to low and let simmer gently for 15 - 17 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Cynthia Nelson blogs at Tastes Like Home.

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