Japanese souffle pancake. TNS
A friend from out of town casually mentioned that he had eaten Japanese soufflé pancakes, and then he went on talking as if nothing had changed.
Didn’t he notice that the Earth had stopped turning? Didn’t he see the hole that was burned through the fabric of our existence? Did he not realize that life as we had lived it up to this point had forever changed?
Three words was all it took for the world to turn upside down: Japanese soufflé pancakes. And if you want to be technical, it was really only the “soufflé pancakes” part. “Japanese” is just an intriguing modifier.
How had I not heard of Japanese soufflé pancakes before? My entire life was a lie, and I did not even realize it.
Obviously, these were something I had to try. And because they do not serve them at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, I knew I was going to have to make them myself.
There is only one other difference between soufflé pancakes and regular pancakes, and that is the part that makes it a soufflé. All you have to do is whip egg whites to stiff peaks — you can use a mixer; I used a whisk — and fold it gently into the rest of the batter.
Between the whipped eggs and some baking powder, you get pancakes that cook up remarkably tall, fluffy and light. They are absurdly delectable, and maybe just a touch more cake-like than ordinary pancakes. They feel like celebratory pancakes, the kind of thing to bring out on special occasions.
Powdered sugar is highly recommended. Syrup is essential.
JAPANESE SOUFFLÉ PANCAKES
Yield: 8 pancakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
11/4 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar for serving
Note: You will need 4 ring molds, each about 3 inches wide by 2 1/2 inches high.
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, baking powder and salt.
2. Heat milk and butter together in a saucepan over medium heat just until the butter melts. Place egg yolk in a medium bowl and whisk in just a few drops of the milk mixture at a time. Keep whisking and adding the milk mixture, gradually increasing the amount of milk mixture. Stir in the vanilla.
3. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together in another bowl until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
4. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture until just combined (it’s OK if there are a few lumps). Stir 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the flour-milk mixture, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites until just combined, taking care not to overmix.
5. Lightly butter the inside of the ring molds or spray with nonstick spray.
6. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Coat with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Place the prepared ring molds in the middle of the skillet and fill each with 1/2 cup of batter, filling each ring mold about halfway.
7. Cover the skillet with the lid and cook until the batter is golden on the bottom — it should rise to the tops of the ring molds, be covered with bubbles and jiggle only slightly when shaken. Using a spatula and tongs, carefully flip the ring molds. Cover and cook until golden on the other side.
8. Serve with butter and maple syrup and maybe some more powdered sugar.
Tribune News service
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