» Presentation Pancakes for Candlemas • Cooking with Catholic Kids

Presentation Pancakes for Candlemas • Cooking with Catholic Kids

Celebrate the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord with a reflection and recipe for strawberry lemon pancakes.

by Ryan Langr

The Feb. 2 feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, known as Candlemas, is primarily a celebration of Jesus’ presentation at the Temple. In Jewish law, it occurred 40 days after the birth of the first child, and represented the dedication of the child to God and the cleansing of the mother.

As Christians, we recognize it as the fulfillment of promise: both Simeon and Anna recognize this child as the Christ. As the Liturgy of the Hours says, “your word has been fulfilled.” Israel has waited, and now the promise of redemption is at hand.

Candlemas is one of the oldest feasts celebrated by the Church. The candles represent Christ’s light in the world, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel” (Lk 2:32).

The candle represents the anticipation of spring to come, and many believers have their candles blessed on this day to be used throughout the rest of the year.

One of the most traditional foods used to celebrate Candlemas is the crêpe. There’s some ambiguity about where this came from, but it likely came from “Vestel Virgins” offering cakes during a purification celebration.

Because I don’t have the patience to make crêpes (more on that later), I decided pancakes would be just as delicious and easier with my preschooler. These things are tasty: full of fresh lemon flavor. I love lemon, it reminds me of summer. The syrup is probably my favorite part, and it can be saved for French toast and other breakfast treats later. My daughter loved chopping up the berries (we have child-friendly knives), stirring the batter and watching me flip the pancakes.

One note: make sure the strawberries used in the pancakes are very finely diced or your pancakes will not cook all the way through. Lessons learned!

Print Recipe
Presentation Pancakes for Candlemas • Cooking with Catholic Kids
  1. Add syrup ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Turn heat up and bring syrup to a boil, stirring frequently.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Puree with an immersion blender if you desire it smooth (I kept mine chunky) while it is removed from heat. Allow to thicken over low heat until the pancakes are done. Stir occasionally.
  4. Preheat large nonstick pan on medium heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until evenly mixed. Make a well in the middle.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice and sugar. Remove any seeds from the lemon juice. Add lemon zest.
  7. Add buttermilk, vanilla and egg. Whisk together until evenly mixed.
  8. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredient bowl. Try to get as much as possible into the well.
  9. Whisk together until even. The batter will be chunky. Add in the strawberries, and stir gently. The strawberries have to be VERY finely diced.
  10. Add pancakes to skillet. Flip them when they begin to bubble in the middle. I cooked them individually, but if the skillet is big enough you may be able to cook multiple at a time.
  11. Drizzle the syrup over the pancakes.
  12. Serve with favorite breakfast meat and eggs if desired. Enjoy!

I am terrible at preparation and patience. I don’t wait for Christmas to listen to the music. When I have to make a speech I usually don’t write it out beforehand. And when I make a recipe, I tend to just assume I the ingredients I need unless I specifically remembered to make a note. It’s definitely an area of virtue in which I have to grow.

Pancakes should be easy, right? I didn’t have the patience to find the buttermilk in the grocery store, I ran out of vanilla halfway through (I substituted maple syrup, btw), and I didn’t buy enough strawberries (luckily I had a package in the freezer). In short, no matter how many times my lack of preparation and patience is a detriment to me, I still think “this time will be different.” It seldom is.

Cook, Question and Talk

This feast day is a wonderful time to think about how we prepare and wait. Here are some reflection questions while you cook with your kids:

  • Lent is coming, are you going to fully embrace it? Or are you going to sit and complain how much you dislike Lent, how inconvenient it is, until it’s over?
  • Do you slow down in life and prepare your heart, or do you rush through everything and just “hope” you’re in the right state of mind when the time comes? Personally, I think the reason I don’t take the time to prepare is because I’m prideful, I believe when the time comes, I’ll have the power to make myself what I need to be. I don’t.
  • What are your expectations and what has God promised you? Do you believe he will fulfill his promises?
  • What do you need right now to fully embrace Jesus as the light of the world? Are there any ways you are “snuffing” out the light?
  • From what do you need to be purified? To what do you need to rededicate yourself?

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace, your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

Liturgy of the Hours, Gospel Canticle (Lk 2:29-32).
Photo: Nheyob via Wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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