Treat yourself or someone special to the ultimate breakfast (or brunch) with these fluffy, melt in the mouth Japanese soufflé pancakes! They take a bit of practice and time, but I promise you they are show-stoppers and well worth the effort!
WHAT ARE JAPANESE SOUFFLE PANCAKES?
Soufflé pancakes are extra tall, super fluffy pancakes made using a soufflé technique. This means separating the eggs and whipping up the egg whites with sugar to make a meringue, then mixing this meringue with the rest of the batter. (I'll tell you more details later on!)
There has been soufflé pancake boom in Japan and they have been making their rounds online, impressing people from all over the world. Not to mention they're very instagrammable haha.
These pancakes can also be called Fuwa Fuwa Pancakes ふわふわパンケーキ (fluffy pancakes) or Shiawase Pancakes 幸せのパンケーキ which means "A Happy Pancake" and is the name of a famous Soufflé Pancake shop in Japan.
They are often topped with ice cream, fruits and drizzled with maple syrup. Of course, because they're pancakes you can add any of your favourite toppings and they will still be amazing. I like them with honey and lemon juice, or with berries and cream.
ARE THEY DIFFICULT TO MAKE?
I'd be lying if I said this is an easy recipe, it requires specific cooking techniques that can be difficult to get right, and it also takes a bit of time and patience!
Even in cafes or pancake shops in Japan, soufflé pancakes can have a 20-30 minute waiting time just because they're made from the kind of batter that needs to be whipped up fresh. Once cooked, they need to be served asap, when they're freshly warm and fluffy!
With that said, I don't want to scare you! They are definitely possible to make at home, if I can make them, so can you! I made this multiple times before I was really happy with the result. So I want to share some tips so that you can get perfectly fluffy soufflé pancakes too.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
The most important part of this recipe is the meringue. If the meringue isn't right, the whole recipe will fail. You need your meringue to be firm with straight peaks when you remove the whisk. Here are some tips on how to achieve the perfect meringue.
- Separate the eggs when they are cold and have just come out from the fridge. Cold eggs separate easier and you're less likely to break the yolk.
- When cracking the eggs, use a dry bowl and be very careful not to let any of the yolk break into the whites. If the whites have drops of water or bits of broken yolk inside, it will affect the whipping process.
- Let the egg whites reach room temperature. It's commonly believed that cold egg whites whip better. It's true that the meringue is more stable with cold eggs, but room temperature eggs aren't so firm, so when they're whipped they become more airy.
- Use an electric whisk to make the meringue faster and easier
- Use cream of tartar or lemon juice to help stabilise the meringue. I use lemon because I feel like it balances the taste of the egg but I think cream of tartar is better for stability. Both of these ingredients help with preventing over-whisked meringue too. Use either ½ tsp lemon juice or ¼ tsp cream of tartar.
- Don't under-whisk the meringue, the pancakes will be dense or they'll deflate very quickly.
- Don't over-whisk the meringue either! If you do, it will become coarse and grainy. (I recommend starting again if this happens.)
- The pancake batter base is quite thick and it will be hard to combine with meringue. To fix this, add a little meringue first and whisk it to make the pancake batter more runny.
- Add the rest of the meringue gradually, if you add it all in one go, it will require more mixing to incorporate it and this will let out the air you worked so hard to put in.
- After the initial whisking of meringue to loosen the pancake batter, fold in the rest of the meringue with a spatula. Slow and gentle is the best way to keep as much air in as possible!
HEAT AND EQUIPMENT
- Use a non-stick pan with a lid.
- I recommend placing your pan on the stove and setting it to the lowest heat as soon as you start preparing the ingredients so that the heat is low and even all over the pan, ready for when it's time to cook.
- I've tried using a gas stove and an electric stove, and I must say that the electric stove is better for keeping a low and constant temperature.
- Using a hot plate is the best, if you have one.
MAKING THE SHAPE
There are lots of ways to make your soufflé pancakes as tall as possible. I personally like the first way, but I've listed other techniques that I've also tried and they work.
- Using a ladle or a jug, pour the mixture into one point until you're happy with the size and repeat until you have 2-3 pancakes in your pan. (Make sure they're not touching) Add a tsp of water to the pan and put the lid on, allow to steam for 2 minutes. Now add another scoop on top of each pancake, they will be starting to cook a little and this fresh scoop of batter will make your pancakes nice and tall.
- Use English muffin rings to keep a neat shape and force the pancakes to rise up rather than out.
- Make shift your own English muffin rings by rolling a strip of baking parchment and stapling the ends together to make a ring. You can make the size according to your preferences.
- Use a piping bag to squeeze the batter into the frying pan, either freehand or into a English muffin ring. (Be careful not to squeeze it too hard otherwise air can be pushed out the batter and the pancakes won't be as fluffy)
If you have any questions comment below! Let's get started making these deliciously fluffy, Japanese soufflé pancakes!
Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes
For the Pancake Batter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp whole milk
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 30 g cake flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
For the Meringue
- 2 egg whites
- ½ tsp lemon juice - or half the amount of cream of tartar
- 25 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- Measure out all of your ingredients in advance to help you work quickly. Separate the two eggs into two medium sized bowls (yolks in one bowl, whites in the other).
- Start heating your non-stick frying pan (with a lid) straight away on the lowest heat, this will help you get an even heat all over.
- Add 2 egg yolks, 1 tbsp whole milk and ½ tsp vanilla essence to a mixing bowl, and whisk together.
- Sift in 30 g cake flour and ½ tsp baking powder and whisk until smooth. Set aside for later.
- In a separate clean glass bowl, add 2 egg whites, ½ tsp lemon juice (or half the amount of cream tartar) and starting whipping your eggs using an electric whisk on a medium speed.
- When the egg whites have doubled in size and become a bit foamy, start adding 25 g caster sugar one-third at a time, whisking well each time.
- Add 1 tsp cornstarch and keep whipping until the meringue is glossy with firm, straight peaks.
- First, take one scoop of your meringue and mix it with the pancake batter using a whisk. This is to loosen up the thick batter and make it easier to incorporate into the rest of the meringue.
- Add half of the remaining meringue to the batter and fold in gently using a spatula (no whisk!). Mix as little as possible, you need to try and keep as much air in the batter as you can.
- Fold in the remaining meringue, as gently as you can until you can't see anymore white in the batter.
- Add 1 tsp cooking oil to heated pan and then wipe off the excess using kitchen paperl. (If there is oil left in the pan, the pancakes will become spotty.)
- Using a large spoon or ladle (or piping bag), pour your batter into one spot for each pancake, layering up as high as possible before it starts to spread. If cooking 2 or more pancakes at a time, make sure they're spaced well apart.
- Add a few tsp of water around the pancakes and put the lid on. Cook for 1 min.
- After 1 minute, take off the lid and add some more batter on top of the pancakes to make them taller.
- Add a few more tsp of water around the pancakes and put the lid back on, cook for 3-6 mins.
- Using a spatula, carefully loosen the bottoms of the pancakes from the pan. Rather than flipping, roll them over onto their opposite sides.
- Add a few tsp of water again and cook for 3-4 mins until cooked in the middle.
- Serve up immediately with your favorite toppings.