Apple Pie Pillow Pancakes

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My pillow pancake series is getting a tad out of hand.

No actually I take it back. Would take too much for me to quit this. What morning comfort.

Introducing the newest little baby to the family: thick and fluffy pillow pancakes, based off my original recipe for outrageously thick, tender and fluffy pancakes, this time stuffed with apple, custard, topped with yoghurt and a nutty ‘crumble’.

This also features a delicious dessert bar, one of the many I received yesterday morning from the lovely guys of rhythm108. All cut up and used as part of the ‘crumble’ bit. Seeing they actually had an apple pie flavour, I just couldn’t not use it as part of this getup. Crowning glory. They remind me a little of Naked bars, but at least 2.5x better, because you pop them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds, and lo and behold, you have the perfect little melt-in your-mouth dessert bar. Gooey, warm and sweet. How easy is that? Delicious, naturally sweetened (oh what a change for Alex), mini delicious morsels. And in a wide array of flavours- think apple pie, coconut macaroon (ok I have yet to try this one but I’m bubbling with excitement), banana muffin. I think the concept makes for such convenience. Check them out!

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The recipe follows my standard pillow pancake recipe, but with a few modifications which I shall detail down below. Namely a load of apple, cinnamon and custard, of course.

Mix together the wet, mix together the dry, plop one into the other, mix, apple chopping and tossing, fry on a pan on medium heat. Watch them rise, then settle. A brown glisten on both sides.

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Yes!! Soft, warm, fluffy.

Things I love about this variation:

  • the half-made custard which makes up most of the wet mix injects a mellow sweetness and silky smoothness to the final batter
  • warm, cooked apple on the inside and freshly cut apple on top makes for wonderful textural contrast
  • and just like all the other pillow variations, this is so, so versatile. Dress it up or down, top with whatever you like (ok but please include the maple syrup, no arguments there)

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Directions (makes 6-8 medium pancakes)

Make the pillow pancakes as how I state for the original recipe, but before you do that, have these ingredients on hand:

1 apple, chopped

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp custard powder+ 3 tbsp white sugar

3 tbsp butter, instead of the 5 tbsp stated in the original recipe

Topping (optional): yoghurt, maple syrup (not optional), more chopped apple, handful of chopped almonds and granola for the crumble part of this whole recipe

Whisk together the dry ingredients as stated in the linked recipe, but add the 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon as well before whisking. Then when putting together your wet mix, add the 1 tbsp of custard powder and 3 tbsp of white sugar into the one cup of milk or buttermilk, and microwave this on high for 3 minutes. After microwaving, add the 3 tbsp butter and let it melt. Then mix in the rest of the wet ingredients, and pour into dry mix.

Add the chopped apple to the final batter, then cook as stated in the recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

Citrus Curd Yoghurt Pillow Pancakes

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Pancake Alex struck again at precisely 6am yesterday morning. I decided it had been a while since I did a post on my pillow pancake series specifically, so today I present to you a modification on my all-time favourite pancake recipe

Thick and fluffy (it’s a little ridiculous) pancakes made with yoghurt and citrus curd. I used lime here, but grapefruit/lemon would work just as well.  The morning was ripe with possibility, and pancakes make everything else in your day that much more worth looking forward to.

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I mean, I’ve done lots of pancake variations, and have mixed up the ratios of flour, sugar, eggs, melted butter and what have yous many a time, but it’s this dry mix ratio of 1.5 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda and a generous pinch of salt that makes this recipe live finely up to its name. They aren’t called pillow pancakes for nothing. They have body. They have soul.

So it’s simple as that in the beginning. Whisk together your dry ingredients in a larger bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients in a separate bowl, pour wet into dry with a generous puddle of melted, unsalted butter, mix briefly, ladle.

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The only real difference here is in the wet mix. It differs from my favourite classic pancake recipe by incorporating, of course, yoghurt, which is what produces a slightly stickier, almost yeast batter-like texture, and citrus curd. In this case, a whole 1/4 cup of lime curd, and I shamelessly use cups here because this tried-and-tested recipe works every time I use cups; you just have to make sure that you gently level off the top of the cup (when it comes to flour and such) using the back of a knife. Other minor changes involve a slightly reduced amount of melted butter (the yoghurt and curd compensate for that nicely), as well as half the amount of milk needed.

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So fluffy, so perfect with an extra dollop of yoghurt and a drizzle of honey and maple syrup. The fluff.

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Thought it would be nice to end off with a little glimpse into my common commute to Charing Cross hospital, through Margravine cemetery. All sounds a bit austere, but it’s really one of the most beautiful walks.

Citrus Curd Yoghurt Pillow Pancakes (makes 6-8 medium pancakes)

Directions

Follow the steps for making my classic pillow pancakes here, but this time substitute the wet mix with 1/2 cup (120ml) milk of choice, 1/2 cup whole milk yoghurt, 1/4 cup citrus curd of choice, 1 egg (as per usual) and 4 tbsp (60g) melted butter.

Tip: Make sure to spread out the thick batter after ladling into the pan, else one side will cook too fast.

Serve with fresh fruit, yoghurt and a drizzle of honey.

 

Classic Pancakes

Currently (sadly) alternating between periods of intense revision and:

  • wondering what Leonardo da Vinci’s Snapchats would be like
  • researching the nutrition of scallops and uni, in other words my two current favourite types of seafood
  • embarking on The Kitchn’s baking school program, which is definitely one of the most interesting and exciting things I’ve started in a long time.

Busyness aside, there will always be time for a good settle-down in the kitchen. Like a good breakfast. Something like this:

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thin, tender, lacey (English) pancakes (here topped with fresh ripe banana, drizzled with almond butter and salted caramel walnuts+melted matcha chocolate I saved all the way from Japan)

For creativity and mood’s sake, I gave in to the whole almond-matcha theme the first time round. It’s one of those things I’ve done before, loved, and you can check it out right here. Admittedly, the day after, I reheated a couple of extra pancakes and went for the classic, ever-loved combo of freshly-squeezed lemon juice and sugar. Deliciousness= lemon and sugar soaking into thin pancake flesh, into every crevice of the crumpled carpet. That being said, there’s also something magical about the combination of a fresh, warm pancake with a creamy slather of almond butter. The melted matcha chocolate hits everything with a sweet and slightly bitter kick.

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Sorry– trypophobics beware.

Having made plenty of American pancakes, the sort which fluff up and bounce and you top with butter and maple syrup, I thought it fitting to try something else. That’s when I came across Nigella Lawson’s recipe for classic crepes. And so another question popped up:

  • what’s the difference between a crepe and a pancake?

After trying out the recipe and doing the research, I had a hard time deliberating whether the final result was more akin to one or the other. The nuances of the recipe made this more a pancake than crepe, so pancakes it was. The main difference lies in waiting time, so calling it a crepe wouldn’t be sacrilege.

These pancakes are a real treat any morning. Very thin, lacey, and have a light brown, crispy underside. The great bit? You can put them together in a pinch and any leftovers can be chucked in the fridge and reheated the next morning/ whenever you want.

Took a while for me to get these pancakes as thin and lacey as possible, but a few good tricks to have up your sleeve are:

  • when putting melted butter into the pan before ladling of the pancake batter, do not use a paper towel to remove excess butter– add a generous amount of butter, let melt and swirl around. This will promote excellent browning and crispiness at the edges.
  • I repeat– generous amount of butter.
  • use medium-high heat– should hear a mild sizzle when batter hits the pan and a heavier-bodies sizzle when batter is ladled into pan.
  • After ladling, lift the pan off the heat to swirl it around evenly. This prevents any batter that’s already been ladled from cooking too fast and lets you swirl everything nicely and thinly.

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Classic pancakes (makes 8–10 medium pancakes; adapted from Nigella’s crepes recipe)

Ingredients

150g plain, all-purpose flour

2 tbsp white sugar

pinch salt

28g (2 tbsp) melted, unsalted butter, plus more for the pan during cooking

1 large egg

340ml milk of choice (I used both whole and almond milk on 2 occasions and both worked perfectly)

Directions

Preheat your pan or crepe pan on medium-high heat and ready some butter for cooking. In a large bowl, tip in the flour, salt, sugar, milk, egg and butter, in that order, and whisk everything together. Continue whisking until no lumps remain, and the batter is pale and silky. Use a small ladle to ladle in a little batter and immediately swirl in a circle formation to spread the batter evenly in the pan. As mentioned earlier in the post, you should hear a heavy-bodied sizzle upon the application of melted butter to the pan, and a mild batter when the batter actually hits the pan and starts cooking.

Your first and second pancakes might be a little dodgy, but it gets better as you go along (promise). Once the edges of the pancakes crisp up and brown, slide your spatula underneath and flip. Cook for up to 45 seconds on this side, then remove from the pan and place on a paper towel. When cooking the pancakes/crepes, layer paper towels between each to absorb the condensation.

Serve warm with more butter and honey/maple syrup, or lemon juice and sugar. Try out the combination in the picture above too– does wonders for your tastebuds, friends.

 

Blackberry Pillow Pancakes

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Pillow Pancakes

I keep finding heaven on pancake mornings. I also keep finding heaven when I realise that certain ingredients are about to expire and whatever I expect to be slipshod turns out marvellous and beyond (you could’ve guessed it was ricotta in this case). From now on, I think every Monday shall be pancake Monday. There will be no regrets.

I didn’t want to stray far from these I wrote about quite a while ago, because they’re still my absolute favourite pancakes. I remember squandering my days trying to perfect them. But with university on my heels, there’s simply no time to faff around with proportions and measurements and whatnot. Yet, I needed a bloody good pancake, and a fluffy, well-risen, tender-stomached one at that. Monday would’ve gone quite badly otherwise. I suspect.

That’s where the ricotta comes in. And the chocolate, because 99% of my recipes are incomplete without chocolate. Chocolate crisping up at the edges, chocolate running down your bottom lip when you take a bite and the pocket bursts slowly, lovingly. The pairing of the mild cheese and dark chocolate chunks is not advanced, but necessary. Ricotta makes the batter creamy and mildly sweet, whilst the chocolate (dark, if I may) adds another lush dimension to the whole thing.

‘Twas a funny story, trying to get these right. My first time using the hob to cook pancakes was almost an ordeal. Burnt the first couple and had to chuck those, but the silver lining came when I found the perfect heating level (3) to allow for a nice golden-brown on both sides, without burning them and being left with uncooked centres. These pancakes seem to be more undercooked after the second sides are done, but that’s mostly because of the ricotta, which makes it denser without having to fully compromise on fluff and the slightest chew in the middle.

You deserve it.

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Pillow Pancakes (serves 2-4, makes 8 medium pancakes)

Ingredients

125g (1/2 cup) whole-milk ricotta (strain if watery)

135g (around 1 cup) all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

pinch of coarse salt

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

20g (slightly less than 2 tbsp) melted butter

240ml (1 cup) milk

60g (1/2 cup) chopped dark chocolate

Directions

Preheat your pan or griddle on medium heat, and ready some butter. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients– flour, sugar, baking powder, chopped chocolate and salt. In a smaller bowl, mix together the ricotta, melted butter, egg, milk and vanilla. Pour the wet into the dry mix and stir until just combined. The batter should be quite thick.

Butter your pan (it should sizzle, but not too strongly), then heap batter onto a tablespoon before laying on 2 or 3 in your pan (you can do more with a griddle of course). Flatten a little with the back of your spatula, then wait 2 minutes before flipping to cook the second side, which will take almost less than half the time it takes to cook the first side. Place cooked pancakes on a paper towel to absorb moisture from the bottom.

Serve with yoghurt, fruit or nuts, and honey or maple syrup.