Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

These Japanese soufflé pancakes are perfect! There’s only one downer, you have to eat them within 5 minutes of making them. They deflate quite quickly but it’s still so worth it! They aren’t too eggy either, which I love. The egg to sugar to egg white ratio is spot on and delivers a fluffy, slightly sweet and delicate bite.

Japan has 2 types of pancakes, one savoury and one sweet.

Savoury: In Japan, okonomiyaki are made from flour, egg, cabbage and a choice of ingredients. Oyaki are pancakes often stuffed with ankoeggplant, or nozawanaDorayaki are a sort of sandwich made from Western-style pancakes and anko. Sweet crepes are also very popular.

Sweet: The Japanese have also created a soufflé-style cooked-in rings-pancake, which is taller and fluffier than the American pancakes which is inspired by, and found in Singapore, Toronto, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Japanese soufflé pancakes are a delightful fusion of Western-style pancakes and Japanese culinary ingenuity. Their history is relatively recent but intriguing, reflecting the playful and innovative spirit of modern Japanese cuisine.

Origin and Development

  1. Influence of Western Pancakes: Traditional Western-style pancakes were introduced to Japan during the post-World War II era when American culture and cuisine started to influence Japanese food trends. Pancakes became a popular breakfast item, often enjoyed with syrup and butter.
  2. Japanese Adaptation: In the 1980s and 1990s, Japanese chefs began experimenting with pancake recipes, aiming to create a fluffier and lighter version. This led to the development of the Japanese soufflé pancake, characterized by its airy, jiggly texture, achieved through the incorporation of meringue into the batter.
  3. Café Culture: The soufflé pancake gained popularity in the 2010s, particularly with the rise of Instagram and food photography. Japanese cafés, known for their aesthetic appeal and innovative dishes, played a significant role in popularizing these pancakes. Their whimsical appearance and delightful texture made them a hit on social media platforms, attracting both locals and tourists.

Characteristics of Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

  • Fluffy Texture: The hallmark of these pancakes is their airy, cloud-like texture. This is achieved by folding whipped egg whites (meringue) into the batter, creating a light and fluffy consistency.
  • Height: Japanese soufflé pancakes are typically tall and thick, often cooked in ring molds to maintain their shape and height.
  • Delicate Flavor: They have a subtle sweetness and a delicate flavor, often enhanced with toppings like fresh fruit, whipped cream, syrups, or powdered sugar.

Japanese soufflé pancakes

 

Equipment Needed: 

You also don’t need a piping bag. The batter is strong enough thanks to the lemon juice (you can also use cream of tartar). What you do need though, is a non-stick pan with a lid. You’ll be cooking these pancakes on a low heat, that’s the key. You need those egg whites to cook 2/3rds of the way and that can only be done on a low heat – if you don’t want to burn them.

Japanese soufflé pancakes

Japanese soufflé pancakes

Japanese soufflé pancakes

Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

Fluffy, flavoursome and more-ish pancakes. You can serve then with butter, syrup, berry compote, whipped cream but whichever way - they're absolutely divine.
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Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: breakfast, compote, pancakes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 medium

Equipment

  • 1 large non-stick saucepan with lid
  • 1 electric hand mixer

Ingredients

Japanese Pancakes

  • 4 large eggs separated
  • 30 ml milk see note 1
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 50 grams regular flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 55 grams sugar substitutes, see note 2
  • ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp butter see note 3

Berry Compote

  • 1 cup frozen berries or fresh, see note 4
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup substitutes, see note 5

Instructions

  • Start by preparing all the ingredients as well as your non-stick pan (with lid). Once you've whipped the egg whites you want all the elements to be ready because the pancakes deflate quickly.

Berry Compote

  • Add the frozen berries and maple syrup to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer on a medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the berries are soft and gooey (add a dash of water if you prefer it on the runnier side). Transfer to a heatproof container and place in the fridge. Note: You want the compote to at least be room temp before serving it on top of the pancakes (the heat will encourage the pancakes to deflate).

Japanese Pancakes

  • Separate the egg into two large glass bowls. Place the egg whites in the fridge.
  • Add milk and vanilla essence to the egg yolks. Mix until a paste forms but do not over mix. Add flour and baking powder to the egg yolk mixture and set aside.
  • Bring a large non-stick saucepan to a low heat before you start whipping the egg whites.
  • Remove the egg whites from the fridge and add the fresh lemon juice. Start whisking and gradually sprinkle in the sugar. Whisk until stiff peaks form.
  • Add 1/4 of the meringue to the egg yolks and fold. This helps loosen the egg yolk mixture so that it's easier to fold in the rest of the meringue. Add the remining meringue.
  • Line the non-stick pan with butter and use a kitchen towel to remove any access butter - you a thin lining of grease in your pan. Use about 1/3 cup worth of batter for each pancake. Cover with a lid and allow the pancakes to cook for 2-3 minutes on low. Carefully flip, cover and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. Note: Do not overcrowd your pan as you need quite a bit of space to flip them without touching each other. At the same time, you also want too cook as many as possible seeing they deflate quite quickly - this'll all depend on the size of your pan.
  • Remove form the pan and get stacking!

Notes

  1. Milk: please take note that 30ml of liquid is pretty much equivalent to 30 grams - this is only relevant if you're making this recipe using a scale.
  2. Sugar: you can use powdered sugar, castor sugar, light brown sugar or white sugar. Don't use regular brown sugar as it contains too much molasses and will weigh the meringue down.
  3. Butter: you can also use Cook & Spray. You only want a thin layer of grease in you saucepan, if you have to much they'll brown unevenly.
  4. Frozen Fruit: you can also use fresh berries or any frozen/fresh fruit. It depends on what type of compote you prefer.
  5. Sweetener: you can use regular syrup, honey, sugar, xylitol etc.
  6. Toppings: there are so many lovely combinations using fresh fruit, compote, syrup, honey, preserves, cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice, heavy cream, chocolate spread and the list goes on.
  7. Toppings: there are so many lovely combinations using fresh fruit, compote, syrup, honey, preserves, cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice, heavy cream, chocolate spread and the list goes on.
  8. Equipment: you also don't need a piping bag. The batter is strong enough thanks to the lemon juice (you can also use cream of tartar). What you do need though, is a non-stick pan with a lid. You'll be cooking these pancakes on a low heat, that's the key. You need those egg whites to cook 2/3rds of the way and that can only be done on a low heat - if you don't want to burn them.

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