NO SEPARATION OF EGG WHITES AND YOLKS, NO WHIPPING THE WHITES AND FOLDING IT BACK IN, AND YEAH, NO MAYONNAISE EITHER.
If you use the internet, you’ve probably seen this. This super lofty, tall and wiggling souffle pancake, said to have originated from Japan, that will surely tickle the feathers of anyone who has a soft sentimental spots for stacked fluffiness.
I, for one, am not a pancake person. Or at least, not in its traditional form. But over the years, I’ve been patiently waiting for a game changer that would summon my inner fluff-craze that has been dormant inside my cold, pancake-less heart, and I thought, maybe, this is it.
Well, not quite.
Upon further investigation, I realized that the recipe for this pancake requires violating one of my many holy baking commandments – Thou shalt not ask for the separation of egg white and yolks, separate whippings, and folding them back in. I am not thy bitch. – carved into a plastic chopping board and hung onto my fridge in permanence to remind me of the gods’ wrath against disobedience. So typically, if I see such thing, I just walk away. But something, a small voice inside my head, an imploding honey cake from the old ages perhaps, held my foot in the ground.
Thing is, whole eggs whip up marvelously fine just as well.
If it’s air that we’re after, whipping egg whites separately isn’t always necessary. I thought, if I could just find the right ratio between flours and whole eggs that are whipped together with sugar until almost mousse-like in consistency, then I can streamline this recipe and turn this batter into a one-bowl, fuss-free and fool-proof epiphany that even I can’t fuck up.
And guess what, I did. A super tall, lofty, spongy one-bowl batter that doesn’t need separation of white and yolks, no folding the whites back in, and yeah, no mayonnaise either. My heart should be content. My inner fluff-craze should awaken and shine lights upon the golden gate that welcomes me towards pancake enlightenment. Right?
Well, not quite.
Thing is, like all other earnest yet disappointing pancakes that had come before it, flavor-wise, this pancake was still completely boring. Cottony fluffiness, yeah, but remind me again why I want to eat cotton again? I sat and stared, faithful, receptive, in waiting. A sign will come. It must come. All these journeys of questions and answers, flipping and flopping, reincarnations and repetitions, can’t all be for nothing. Pancake must mean something! It must!
I waddled my slumbering, meditating body towards the fridge for a diet coke, the thought-juice if you will, and out the corner of my eyes, there it was – A Laughing Cow (regrettably not a sponsor). Of course! If the gods intend a purpose for this pancake’s spacious and buoyant volume, surely, it would be for nothing else but, stuffing! And what is better to aid its mildly sweet and airy crumbs if not this exuberantly creamy and contrastingly salty cheese?
I put my theory to work, and it worked. An unlikely but wondrous pairing that is texturally light yet creamy, flavorfully sweet yet salty, a faintly vanilla sponge moistened with a mildly cheesy funk. In the end, excused by its entirely oil/butter-free crumbs, a slim waterfall of melted butter and a squirt of honey is appropriately commenced. Pancake, is that finally you? Oh where have you been…
- 14 small cubes, or 4 wedges of The Laughing Cow cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch or potato starch
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- Maple syrup or honey to drizzle
- You'll need about 7 small cubes, or 2 wedges (36 grams) of The Laughing Cow cheese for each pancake. Unpack the cheese and set aside in a small bowl.
- In a stand-mixer or hand-held mixer with whisk-attachment, beat eggs, light brown sugar and vanilla extract on high speed for several minutes, until the mixture leaves a trail of ribbons behind and holds a soft peak at the end of the whisk. The air bubbles in the mixture should appear extremely fine, almost mousse-like. Sprinkle flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt evenly on the surface, then add the plain yogurt. Whisk on low speed just for a few seconds, until the batter comes together evenly. If there are flours stuck on the sides of the bowl, gently fold it in with a spatula.
- Butter the insides of two 3~4" ring moulds, then set them on top of a flat non-stick skillet. Set over medium-low heat until the skillet feels warm when you hover your hands over the top. Now spoon enough batter into the moulds until it's 50% full. Scatter The Laughing Cow cheese on top (if you're using wedges, break them into small chunks), then top with more batter until the moulds are 90% full.
- Drizzle 4 tsp of water inside the skillet (this helps steam/cook the pancake properly), then put the lid on. Turn the heat down to low, and cook for 7 minutes. Remove the lid. Now the top of the batter should have risen slightly over the edge of the moulds, and appear cooked and not wet. Now flip the moulds with the pancake inside, and cook without lid for another 2~3 minutes until both sides are golden browned.
- Transfer the moulds onto a plate with the second side facing up (that's the prettier side), and score the inside edges with a knife to release the pancakes. Serve immediately with drizzled maple syrup or honey, and a good dousing of melted butter.