Recipe: Japanese souffle pancakes are the latest trend - make them at home
PUBLISHED: 10:30 29 June 2019
A few storecupboard essentials can be turned into one of the best brunch dishes you can probably rustle up at home.
It amazes me all the time just how changeable and fickle the world of cooking is. A couple of years ago it was all 'gluten-free this, low carb, Paleo that'. Last year saw the stratospheric rise in veganism.
While 2019 seems to be the year of Instafood. Gone are the days when we'd look to telly chefs for inspiration. Where Nigella, Nigel, Jamie, Heston and co have trodden, causing the nation to collectively splurge on everything from Smash, to pork belly and dry ice, social media has followed.
And younger generations especially are much more likely to take the lead from online foodie trends. Multicoloured soft serve ice cream. Plant-based treats. Ever ingenious street food. Mirror glazed cake towers. Sponges with glitter and candy fissures carved across their centres. Instagram has seen it all this year. I like to think I'm immune to the fads….but it appears I'm not.
Because when I saw about a million (OK maybe an exaggeration) pictures of Japanese soufflé pancakes come up on my news feed, I was intrigued…then obsessed. How could they possibly work? Would they hold their shape? Ooh, think of the toppings I could put on top?
So I set to work and, you know what? They're marvellous. Noone can quite put their finger on their exact origin. All we know is they started off in Japan, and have become a growing phenomenon in the US and UK.
The recipe is just a standard American pancake mix, with a little bit more time and care needed in the method. What you end up with are wibbly, fluffy, cloud-like towers of pancake which hold their shape, even under a mountain of soft fruit and syrup. Just the thing to impress when you've got friends over for brunch.
I've paired mine with a conserve I made last weekend using juicy strawberries and redcurrants from my friend Sarah's allotment, and elderflowers plucked from the woodlands behind my house. The end result is slightly tarter than jam (it's only 40% added sugar) and tastes of the essence of summer. Drizzle it over the pancakes, grate with dark chocolate and you've got a dessert/breakfast to relish.
(makes 2-3 small jam jars)
400g strawberries, hulled and halved
200g redcurrants, stalks removed
Peel of 1 lemon (not grated) and juice
240g preserving sugar
10 heads elderflowers - picked from the stalks
Sterilise your jars and set aside.
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Place all the ingredients (except the elderflowers) in a large pan. Add 2tbsps cold water. Cook on a very low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once all the sugar has melted turn up the heat and boil for 10 minutes, adding the elderflowers for the last minute.
Pour into your jars, place the lids on and flip over to create a seal. Allow to cool. This conserve should be kept in the fridge and eaten in two weeks - not a hard task.
Japanese soufflé pancakes
185g plain flour
3tbsps icing sugar
2tsps baking powder
2tbsps melted butter
2 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites
Butter/oil to cook
You will need some metal crumpet rings or presentation rings - about 8-10cm deep - and a heavy-based casserole type pan with a lid, suitable for cooking on the hob
Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the milk, melted butter and egg yolks. Whisk with an electric beater until smooth.
In a separate, clean bowl and with clean beaters, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Beat a quarter of the egg whites into the pancake batter to loosen, then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites so no lumps remain.
Lightly grease your casserole pan with butter and oil and place 3-4 deep metal (well greased) rings in it. Place the heat on low and fill each one about a half full with batter. If you don't have rings, you can pipe the batter in layers of circles to about 6cm high. Place the lid on the pan and cook on low for 10 minutes. Now's the tricky part. Wiggle a fish slice under each pancake to loosen from the pan, place another fish slice on top and carefully flip over (still inside the rings). Put the lid back on and cook for another five minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each pancake and pop onto your serving plate. They'll keep warm, covered in an oven quite nicely if you want to finish the batch and serve them up at the same time to everyone. Pour your favourite toppings or the summer conserve over the top.