Soufflé Pancakes

As the year passes, in too quickly a manner, there has been a burgeoning demand for precious moments and their savouring.

D53B4ADF-6422-4800-9252-AE5936E6B080

One of those precious moments happened last year, or perhaps a little before that, when I successfully made these Japanese soufflé pancakes. And since one of my life missions has been to having a professional feel for developing accurate, DELICIOUS vegan or plant-based reproductions of my favourite, usually nostalgic, breakfast or baking recipes, I couldn’t miss the chance to do so this time. I haven’t had these pancakes in ages, but they really are beautiful things. Admittedly, their sky-high, pillowy nature makes them not quite so pancake-like in the books of many purists, whatever continent may be in. Eating them, nevertheless, is pure ecstasy, and that’s what really matters. Each bite is weightless, teeth effortlessly sinking into these fluffy bodies. The little bit of sugar added to these pancakes suffices, coming through clearly purely due to all that air in each tower of a cake.

The addition of pumpkin purée here comes in handy after Fall, when you may still have half-cans of the stuff lying around. It adds the texture and flavour of egg yolk, which is what I originally use in the ‘normal’ recipe, without being intrusive with pumpkin’s own natural flavour. As for the Japanese (kewpie as it’s called) mayonnaise that’s one of the main stars in the normal recipe, vegan mayonnaise is used. I use the one by the brand Follow Your Heart, which tastes astoundingly like the real thing– crazy! The only thing here which isn’t exactly comforting is the use of white sugar, since I learnt that it’s common for the stuff to be made from bone char, and I am still trying to cut down on the use of refined sugar in general, since its general effects, both physically and mentally, just aren’t very desirable. However, I had some lying around and did not want to waste it, so that happened. Would be very grateful for any recommendations for substitutions!

D53B4ADF-6422-4800-9252-AE5936E6B0802818562 Processed with VSCO with av4 preset

Soufflé pancakes (serves 1-2)

Ingredients  

4 tbsp pumpkin purée (sub: 2 egg yolks)

1 heaping tbsp. vegan mayonnaise (sub: normal mayonnaise if you’re not vegan)

The liquid from 1 can of chickpeas (aquafaba; sub: 2 egg whites)

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp white sugar

5 tbsp cake flour

1 tsp baking powder

some vegan butter for the pan during cooking

Directions

Prepare your pan and ring molds– you will need 3-4 4-inch wide ring molds for this. I actually did not have this on hand so I improvised and stapled together rings of aluminium foil to get the same effect. Note to self: use ring molds next time. The foil works but you have an increased chance of leakage at the bottom!

In a bowl, briefly whisk together the cake flour and baking powder. Then add the pumpkin purée, salt and vegan mayo. Whisk these together until you get a thick, dark yellow, almost paste-like mixture.

In a separate clean bowl, use an electric whisk to beat the aquafaba on high until frothy and mostly white throughout. Once you reach this frothy point, add the sugar and continue beating on high until you get a thick consistency. Aquafaba takes longer to whip up than normal egg white so be patient here– this can take up to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place your pan on the stove to preheat it on medium heat. Once thickly whipped, add the aquafaba to the pumpkin mixture and gently fold with a spatula (I recommend a rubber one) until you get an incredibly light and airy consistency. At this point, your pan will be rather hot. Place your ring molds on the pan and add the batter to one of the molds until it is ¾ full. Cover the pan with its lid and wait 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid– once you see that the top is rather firm, use a flat pancake spatula to flip the pancake with the ring mold still in tact, to cook the other side. Remove this pancake and put it on a paper towel on a plate to rest while you cook the rest of the batter.

 

Hotcake For One

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

As like every Saturday, I took a route less travelled. That morning was colour and fairytale light and a whimsical plate. The perfect respite welcomed me at Paddy Hills, one of my favourite local hideaways for moreish brunch fare, ambience (and not going to lie, the lighting is always perfect for photographs). The light. Almost as if the window behind me had the slightest blue filter. Why is it that I remember these things and not actual important things like the bus routes back home?

Every time I venture out alone in search of a particular foodthing or breakfast dish (for I’m the sort who wakes up way too early to wait for brunch, though that’s always welcome on the social agenda), I savour every little component that arrives at the table. Food is meditation. Every sit-down is an analysis, a reconnection with the humble plate. A cup of coffee is a bit of serendipity, its acidity meaning more than just caffeine. It precedes the awakening of senses; always a bit of displeasure before every reward. Just like my laboratory internship that started in July– each new theory or paper encountered is an adventure for the senses. Every moment is to be savoured, every experiment a full-on thrusting into the meat of the mind.

Having tried many a hotcake before, I didn’t have particularly high hopes for the one at Paddy Hills, but it’s by far the best one I’ve tried. Golden, crisp edges encased a cake-like, fluffy interior, leaning towards pound cake on the density spectrum. Its perfect texture was proven by the soft drag of my fork’s prongs along the edge, followed by the total lack of resistance as they sank into the domed surface. It was then that I decided I just had to recreate something similar at home, and that’s exactly what the following morning demanded. With the mother’s new stash of gluten-free coconut flour at home, I have also included a gluten-free version for any of you who swing that way for personal health reasons. It took a couple of tries to get as close as possible as I could to what I enjoyed. The original recipe I followed online included the unusual addition of Japanese mayonnaise, which apparently is what the Jap folk use in their sky-high, souffle-like pancakes. Unlike American mayonnaise, the Japanese version is typically made with apple or rice vinegar instead of distilled vinegar, and uses egg yolks instead of whole eggs. Perhaps its the chemical structure of the soy vegetable oil they use or the underlying sweetness that lends a hand to the delish result. It did turn out with a desirab;e ratio of texture and flavour, though next time I shall try it without the mayo and look out for the slightest of differences.

It must be taken into account that the size of your pan (mine is about 4.5 inches wide), as well as how close your pan is to the kiss of heat, affect the final result. There’s nothing more gratifying than a big, fat hotcake on your plate.

It was a Sunday morning and the café came to me instead. Here goes.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Hotcake For One (adapted from this lovely lady)

Ingredients

1/4 cup cake flour

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (substitute with coconut flour for the gluten-free version, but take away 2 tbsp)

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

4 tbsp white sugar

2 tsp Japanese mayonnaise (substitute with American/homemade mayo if you have that on hand)

1 egg white

1/2 cup (180ml) milk or buttermilk

2 tbsp melted butter

splash of vanilla extract

whatever toppings you desire; I chose berries for a berry garden, mascarpone cheese, cashew butter and maple syrup

 

Directions

Preheat your pan on low heat and ready some butter for cooking. Make sure to have at least a healthy knob of butter for each hotcake you make, for this ensures the crispiest golden edges and ease in removing the cake from the pan. In a bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg white until it becomes white and frothy. Add the milk, vanilla extract, mayonnaise and melted butter. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and mix until everything is just combined. Tip the mix, which should have a thick dropping consistency, into your preheated pan and let cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes or when you can see that the edges have hardened and there are small bubbles around the same area, flip the hotcake (carefully) and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove the hotcake and serve with whatever you wish.

 

Double Banana Pillow Pancakes

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Pancakes are easy science. There’s really nothing more to them than mixing your wet with your dry, then plopping spoonfuls into a hot pan. You’re done in a few minutes, happier than the heavens with a drizzle of good maple and all the toppings your heart desires.

Fluffy pillow pancakes made with mashed banana, studded with soft banana coins. 

Your usual dose of weekend fluff, heavily inspired by these babes. I remember really enjoying the addition of mashed banana to the actual batter in this particular recipe, and it’s hard to imagine I made them that long ago. I wanted to recreate that pleasurable experience in a different light– something more straightforward but still just as moreish.

There’s a lot of fun in making a ‘double’ anything. Because that means 2 dimensions. It means depth, intensity. No space or time for something normal. I mean normal can be good, and tradition is bliss sometimes, but a little extra oomph is love and light, too. Adding the banana coins before flipping the pancakes cooks and softens them a little, remodelling your little stack into something with additional texture, a little hint of caramelisation perfusing each bite . Soft banana bits all cosied up in fluff.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Double Banana Pillow Pancakes (makes 12 medium pancakes)

Follow the recipe for my double chocolate banana pillow pancakes, but leave out the cocoa powder, and have a couple additional bananas on hand to slice into coins. Place 2-3 banana coins onto the batter after ladling the pancake batter into your pan, before flipping to cook the second side.

Highly recommended to eat this with greek yoghurt, chocolate shards, peanut butter, and plenty of maple syrup. This is your morning.

 

Blackberry Pillow Pancakes

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

And if you thought I would stop with the pillows, I’m sorry to let you down (not really).

It’s been more than half a year since I discovered what I think is the best base pancake recipe, and goodness have I made so many flat, soggy things in my bleak past. This is merely a twist on a classic favourite buttermilk version, only this time I didn’t even use buttermilk, since I didn’t have any on hand and I had no white vinegar to make any of my own. Still, the results were beyond moreish. One must make do with present circumstance, no matter how dire. The results may be surprising, and even pleasant.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Even without maple syrup, yoghurt and brownie bits (as may be observed above), the pancake alone holds a mildly sweet flavour, with plentiful air pockets, rise (each is at least an inch in height), and all sorts of loveliness. Tart blackberries offset the plain flavour a tad, each bite dripping with tenderness and bits of melted fruit. I paired a small stack with yoghurt to further enhance this tartness, and the syrup made all the components sing in perfect harmony.

This fluff is unreal. Perfect wake-up call.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Blackberry Pillow Pancakes (makes 10-12 medium-sized blackberry darlings)

Ingredients and Directions

Place a large handful of fresh or frozen blackberries (around 7-8 whole blackberries) into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until they are easy to mash and the juices seep out.

Follow the directions on how to make my favourite sky-high pancakes here. Before cooking the pancakes, swirl the microwaved berries into the batter. The batter will become darker, with bits of blackberry strewn throughout. Cook the pancakes as usual, on medium heat and flipping before bubbles are fully formed on the surface of the pancake. Place cooked pancakes on a paper towel, and any left over can be frozen. Serve with more berries, chocolate, yoghurt and maple syrup. Or whatever floats your boat. Enjoy, and make again soon.