Shrove Tuesday is definitely one of, if not the best, minor religious holidays in the world. If there are any others out there that require intense pancake-related gluttony, please let me know. Anyway, this year we thought we’d branch out from the usual crepes and American-style pancakes and instead copy the Japanese and go for some light-as-air souffle pancakes.
Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as pancake day, is all about using up all of the leftover ‘good’ food you have in your house before the 40 days of fasting over lent. Now though, everyone forgets the arduous fasting bit and just goes straight for the good stuff, understandably. And what could be better than pouring all the tasty things in your kitchen over some souffle pancakes? I can’t think of much…
The process for making souffle pancakes is a bit more complicated than your standard ‘whisk everything together and pour in a frying pan’ method you need for French and American pancakes, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Japanese are well known for their intense attention to detail and refinement of technique. I don’t promise the same outcome as Japanese master pancake-maker, but you’re still going to be in fluffy batter heaven!
Once you’ve got your light and delicious souffle pancakes, what are you going to stick on top?! I’m not going to police your choices here, but it’s all about the classics for me. Strawberries and cream, bacon and maple syrup, and chocolate, nuts and a brown sugar syrup all are perfect accompaniments, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you.
Notes on Cooking
Souffle pancakes rely purely on the power of whipped egg whites for their rise, so you need to treat them right. For them to whip up correctly all of your bowls, whisks etc. need to be completely clean. Any fat or grease on anything and you’re going to be having problems. The cream of Tartar is not essential, but acts as a stabiliser and helps to stop the foamy egg whites from collapsing. Keeping the egg whites cold until use also helps, so stick them in the fridge after you’ve separated them for the yolks.
I’ve used dessert/muffin/crumpet rings to do my pancakes in as it holds them up as they souffle in the pan. You don’t need to do this if you don’t have any, just pour some of the batter into the pan, wait for it to ‘set’ and then top with some more and wait a bit before flipping. The final result won’t be as neat, but they’ll still be fluffy and amazing.
You really want to eat them as soon as they’re finished. They’re going to collapse before too long, so get all your toppings ready before you start, and eat up!
Get away from the classic French and American pancakes and travel to Japan. For a little extra effort, you can get these light and fluffy pancakes, a perfect change to the normal styles.
- 150 mL milk
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 6 medium eggs seperated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 185 g self raising flour
- 1/2 tsp cream of Tartar
- 85 g caster sugar
Combine the milk, butter, egg yolks and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Make sure the butter isn’t too hot otherwise you could accidentally cook your eggs.
Sift the flour into the bowl and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
Ensuring that everything is spotlessly clean, whisk the egg white and cream of Tartar until you form soft peaks.
Introduce the sugar in two parts, whisking thoroughly to combine each time. Ensure that the egg whites have reached the hard peaks stage. You can test this by turning the bowl upside down, they should stay where they are if they are whisked enough.
Place a frying pan over a low heat and place your ring molds inside if using. Spray the molds and pan with cooking spray and fill the molds halfway. If not using the molds, spoon the mixture into small rounds in the pan, and add more on top when the first lot has set.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook for around 10 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on the temperature as it needs to be low to avoid burning. You want to aim for a light golden-brown colour.
Remove from the pan and eat immediately with the toppings of your choice.