I was wasting away on Facebook yesterday when this lovely video popped up in my feed:
Mmmm… fluffy, lightly sweetened, bouncy souffle pancakes. Some people commented that they had tried them before in Taiwan and Japan and said it was like eating a cloud, and that it was airy like cotton candy. The stuff of daydreams.
I watched all the way through wondering how well the inside got cooked and how fluffy it would taste in my mouth. So I went searching for recipes and videos online. I couldn’t seem to find the right kind of recipe when I searched “Taiwanese Fluffy Pancake,” but there was a lot out there for “Japanese Fluffy Pancake” and before I knew it, I landed on the familiar pages of Nami’s blog at Just One Cookbook and was quickly convinced that her recipe held the key to a perfect fluffy pancake experience in my future. It looked very similar to the fluffy ones in this video- maybe with a little less bounce, but just as tantalizing.
On a side note, my husband’s favorite cuisine is Japanese, and her blog has been my favorite resource for Japanese eats and I am never disappointed when I attempt one of her delicious recipes. I’ve made her chasu, ramen, pressure cooker pork belly (kakuni) (DROOL Ben just requested this again yesterday, actually), and a bunch of other recipes I can’t remember. Check it out! So delicious.
Soon after I skimmed through the recipe, my brain told me, Hey, tomorrow’s Memorial Day, I should have time to make these… so I did! They were so delicious. Cutting into it felt like cutting into a souffle… pancake. Which makes sense. You could hear the soft “fizz” like when I cut my spoon through a souffle, because that’s basically what this is. Golden brown on the top, golden around the sides, light and airy, fluffy, moist, soft, lightly sweetened, and just beautiful to behold. My daughter ate more than her share of them so I’m really glad I doubled the recipe. I also felt like I learned a few cooking tricks as I watched her video, like how to pile on dollops over time to get more height in your pancake and how to use drops of water to steam a cake in a covered pan.
This step ensures even baking throughout despite using low heat. Just a few drops in empty spaces, cover with a lid, and it cooks right up!
I’ll include detailed instructions below, but making the batter for these light and airy souffle pancakes is a lot like making souffle batter. First, you separate the eggs, and mix the egg yolks together with most of the other ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whip up the egg whites like you would for a meringue. They key here is to whip until there are stiff, glossy peaks. You’ll know it’s ready when you can pull the beater out of the egg whites and there is a peak that only barely droops down.
The whipped egg whites are added to the rest of the mixture in three batches. First, you mix in a third of the egg whites just to lighten up the egg yolk mixture so that it will fold in more smoothly with the rest of the egg whites. When you add the second third, it’s important to stir less and fold more, a technique that requires you to scrape along the bowl more, use a light hand and not over-mix. By the time you add the last third, you should fold gently and slowly so you don’t break the air bubbles you mixed into the egg whites earlier. This will ensure the fluffiest souffle pancakes in the end!
One new and unusual technique I learned is to stack scoops of batter to make a taller pancake. This is an overview of the cooking method, which is expanded on in step 6:
It’s not super simple and it’s not super quick, but it is super delicious!
The recipe below is based on Nami’s with two changes: First, I doubled it. If I’m gonna go through the trouble of whipping up egg whites, I’m gonna get more than three pancakes out of it! This also doubles the cook time (which is already admittedly long for pancakes), so make sure you give yourself plenty of time. I had to feed my hungry family sausages and cereal while they waited for the pancakes to finish cooking!
The second change is that instead of cake flour, I subbed in all-purpose flour and cornstarch because I’m guessing most people (like me) don’t keep cake flour in the pantry. According to Kelli at www.thekitchn.com, cake flour is simply finely milled, delicate flour with low protein content which results in a fine crumb and a good rise. To make your own cake flour substitute, you can simply replace some flour with cornstarch or arrowroot powder. I used cornstarch to get my 1/2 cup of cake flour:
1/2 cup AP flour – 1 Tablespoons AP flour + 1 Tablespoons cornstarch = 1/2 cup cake flour
It worked out wonderfully. I snapped a couple photos even as the inevitable “fallen souffle” effect began to take place and then gobbled them up while they were still pretty fluffy.
Anyway I’m back :D. With a yummy recipe to share here, and some posts I’m really excited to get up soon! It feels good to be back- please leave a little hello note! I’d love to hear from you guys, too!
Fluffy Japanese Souffle pancakes
Adapted from Just One Cookbook
They’re great by themselves, and also wonderful with freshly whipped cream and berries, or powdered sugar, or syrup. Enjoy!
Fun fact: When writing this recipe, I realized I totally forgot the baking powder when I made it today, so next time will only get better!