A little twist goes a long way in adding nuanced distinctions to established flavour profiles. I’ve always loved the classic combination of chocolate and orange, so I thought, why not try it in my all-time favourite fluffy pillow pancake recipe?
I remember finalising the recipe for this more than a year ago, and it still hits all heart strings every time I make them. No longer am I caught in the ugly morning mire of doubt and indecision. I love making new things and experimenting with different simple techniques, but what’s the use of a whole stack of badly-risen or bland pancakes when you know there’s one that’s always got your back?
Made with real, fresh orange juice, speckled with chopped up bits of dark chocolate. Saturday respite never did look or taste so good. The tang is subtle and almost sophisticated when paired with more grown-up type chocolate.
Chocolate Orange Pillow Pancakes (makes around 10, adapted from my classic pillow pancake recipe)
190g all-purpose flour
3 tbsp white sugar
generous pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
50g unsalted butter (slightly less than 4 tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract or the insides of half a plump vanilla bean (or a skinny meek one)
120ml (1/2 cup) whole milk/ buttermilk; use store-bought or make your own by mixing 230ml whole milk with 1 tbsp white vinegar, and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before using).
30g chopped dark chocolate (I used a bar of 70% cocoa content)
120ml (1/2 cup) freshly-squeezed orange juice; about one medium orange
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt and leavening agents). In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in a microwave and set it aside, letting it cool. In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, orange juice, vanilla and melted butter. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and mix briefly with a wooden spoon or a normal dinner spoon. Continue to mix until everything is justt combined, which means there will still be a few lumps, but no more streaks of flour. The batter will be thick and somewhat lumpy.
Preheat your pan on medium heat and ready some butter. You know the pan is hot enough when you flick a little water onto its surface and there’s a clear sizzle. At that point, generously butter the pan and ladle tablespoonfuls of batter. I didn’t have to wait for bubbles to pop before flipping; the batter is thicker than usual and there’s no need to wait. Flip the pancakes when you notice the edges stiffening a little, or when you can slide your spatula whole underneath the bottom of the pancake. It will rise a little upon flipping, as if that action gives it life, and hence, breath. The surface should have a brown mosaic thanks to the hot butter. Once the second side is done (will take no more than 20 seconds), let cool on a paper towel. As mentioned above, these freeze wonderfully, so you can make a whole batch, have a small stack and stash the rest in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Easy!