Last month, as part of the Cherry Blossom season festivities, I took a delightful virtual cooking class with Chef Kenji Yokoo where we learned to make Japanese soufflé pancakes. I’m generally not a fan of pancakes, but these are a whole different species—light, delicate, slightly sweet. Here is my recipe, adapted from his original. These are a bit trickier than American style pancakes, but after my first attempt, I found them very easy to make, and extremely delicious to eat!
• 2 large eggs, yolk and whites separated
• 2 tablespoons cashew milk (you can substitute your favorite)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 tablespoons almond flour
• 1⁄4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
• 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (you can substitute your favorite)
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon matcha powder (optional, for a nice flavor and light coloring)
• ½ teaspoon spirulina (optional, for additional color)
• Coconut oil (or any neutral flavored oil) to coat the pan
• Optional toppings: Fruit, jam, maple syrup
• Heavy duty parchment paper cut into 2 12”x2” strips
• Scotch tape
• Large mixing bowl
• A second large mixing bowl
• Nonstick frying pan (at least 10” wide) with a lid—I use a ceramic coated, non-toxic pan
• Electric mixer
• Hand whisk
• Rubber spatula
• Spatula for flipping the pancakes
• Paper towel
Make 2 paper molds by joining the ends of the parchment paper to make a ring and securing with Scotch tape.
In a large bowl, hand whisk the egg yolks, milk and vanilla extract until just mixed. Add the flour and baking powder. Whisk until smooth.
In the second bowl (make sure it’s clean and dry, with no traces of oil), beat the egg whites with the electric mixer on low speed until frothy.
Add the sugar to the egg whites, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating continuously until it becomes a very stiff meringue. Mix in the cornstarch (this helps it hold its shape).
Place 1/4 of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture and blend with the hand whisk until well combined (no whites are visible). Add half of the remaining meringue, folding it gently into the mixture with the rubber spatula. Once it’s integrated, fold in the remaining meringue until it’s just integrated with no white spots showing. It should be the consistency of a light, fluffy cake batter.
Heat the frying pan over very low heat until drops of water steam off (if they sputter, turn down the heat). Using the paper towel, make a thin coat of oil all over the pan.
Place one parchment paper mold in the pan and fill it to about ¾ with batter (you can cook two at a time if you have a bigger pan, but it can make the flipping part tricky). Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the edges of pan, doing your best to avoid letting it touch the mold (it will make the bottom of your pancake soggy).
Cover the pan and cook for 4-7 minutes. Remove the cover and check the top. It should be at least as high as the top of the mold. If it’s very sticky, let it cook for another minute or two. If it’s just a bit sticky in the middle, it’s ready. It should be lightly brown on the bottom.
Using a spatula, carefully flip the pancake. Add a little more water to the pan and cover for another 2-3 minutes.
Transfer to a plate and serve with fruit, jam, or maple syrup.
Itadakimasu! Bon appetite! Enjoy!