Ever since I was introduced to these cloud-like SOUFFLÉ PANCAKES back in 2018, I’ve been in love with them. These pancakes are every pancake lovers dream come true! They are so light and delicate that it’s impossible to stop just at one.
Now, I may or may not have been to Japan to try the authentic version of these pancakes but as they say New York is the heart of innovation, so there’s not one thing you can’t find in NYC! And it was New York where I had my first encounter with these fluffy beauties. For me, the two amazing places that serve delicious soufflé pancakes are:
I have always wanted to recreate these pancakes in my kitchen but I always thought that it was some laborious recipe with some magical tricks that I could never replicate. However, after researching a lot and understanding the recipe thoroughly, it was clear to me that it was all about some very specific points that we needed to keep in mind while making these pancakes. Of course, I will definitely be sharing those pointers with you. Once you get a hang of those tricks, this recipe is actually quite easy to make!
What are Japanese Soufflé Pancakes
Japanese Soufflé Pancakes are definitely a fancy, upgraded cousin of your regular, everyday pancakes. They are pillowy and soft and have a melt-in-your-mouth texture. But what makes them so fluffy, you ask? It’s all about the eggs! Egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks to form a meringue and are then very gently folded into an egg yolk & flour mixture, ensuring that air bubbles are not lost. It is because of these air bubbles that give these pancakes a soufflé like texture.
With all that said, understanding the process of making them is nothing less than art. But, once you get hold of the process and the ratios, you’ll be ready to recreate them in your own kitchen! Be prepared to get some oohs! and aahs! as these pancakes are surely going to impress your loved ones.
Important Tips to Make Japanese Soufflé Pancakes Successfully
These are the most important tips that helped create those fluffly Japanese soufflé pancakes:
1. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks
Beating the egg whites correctly is probably the most important step to successfully making soufflé pancakes. Your egg whites have to have stiff peaks! There is no other option! Stiff peak are when you lift up your whisk or beater and the egg whites form a “happy” peak, which doesn’t fall back. You can even test it by holding the bowl upside down and the meringue peak shouldn’t move. If you over-beat the egg whites, they will break into pieces. If you under-beat, egg whites won’t have enough air bubbles and the pancakes won’t be fluffy.
To be honest, making meringue requires a lot of practice. Some trials and errors are just part of the process, but I promise it does get easy once you have more experience and understand what it takes to reach the right consistency.
2. Fold egg yolks and egg whites very very gently
Since it’s all about saving those air bubbles created in the meringue, correctly folding egg yolks into egg whites is another important thing one should keep in mind.
So what is the correct method after all? Up until very recently, even I was doing it all wrong. But then I took a macaron making class, and finally understood the correct “egg whites folding technique”. Using a silicone spatula, transfer 1/3rd of your meringue into the egg yolks mixture. Now, use a wire whisk and thoroughly mix the meringue into the yolks mixture. At this step, don’t worry about saving the bubbles much, we just want to make sure that meringue is mixed thoroughly and a consistent batter is formed.
Next, again transfer 1/3rd part of the meringue into yolks. Now this time, using a wire whisk, start folding the meringue very gently. Try to preserve as much air as possible. (You can check out the video below for the correct technique.)
Once you get a consistent batter, transfer this mixture into the bowl of egg whites. Follow the same folding technique to gently fold the meringue. Finish off the folding process by using a silicone spatula to ensure a smooth and homogeneous batter is formed.
3. Pan should always be on the lowest setting
Since these pancakes are nothing like your regular pancakes, cooking them takes care and patience. You want to make sure your pan is on the lowest possible setting at all times. It will take longer to cook, sure, but don ‘t be tempted to increase the heat as that will only result in pancakes that look cooked from the outside and will fall apart the moment you take them out.
I prefer to cook them on a griddle at 300 F. That helps me control the temperature and ensures uniform cooking.
4. Cover the pan with a lid while cooking the pancakes
As mentioned in the above point, cooking on the lowest heat is imperative. But as we’re using a low heat, we need something to lock the heat in the pan as well. That’s why we cover it with a lid while cooking. Also, since these pancakes are quite tall, covering with a lid ensures the heat spreads uniformly through the top part as well so that they hold shape when you flip them.
5. Add little bit of water in the pan to create steam
You want these pancakes to be soft and airy, and this is achieved adding some moisture during the cooking process. Just adding 1 tablespoon of water on to the empty spaces of the pan will do the trick. This will create the steam that is needed to make them tall and to cook the top part as well.
Here are the main problems that I faced while making these pancakes:
Why do my soufflé pancakes deflate?
When making soufflé pancakes, one of the common situations people run into is that the pancakes tend to deflate after cooking. Now, is that normal? No, a soufflé, including soufflé pancakes, should still stand tall after you place them on the plate.
What goes wrong? What can you do to stop your soufflé from collapsing?
1) You have probably under or over-beaten the egg whites. The goal is to create air bubbles in the batter that will give structure for the pancake. Without them, the pancake will deflate.
2) Stove heat was too strong. Just because the pancake is nicely brown, it doesn’t mean it’s done. The inside of the pancakes may still not be cooked through and if you move them out of the pan earlier, the air deflates. Properly cooked soufflé pancakes will have a solid structure and height. They will hold for 10-15 minutes as long as they are warm (just like hot air balloons).
How can I tell if it’s the right time to flip the pancakes?
Though the answer to this is practice! practice! practice! But I can give you a little trick to check. When you gently touch the top part of the pancakes and only little to no batter sticks to your finger, then your pancakes are ready to be flipped.
My pancakes are not cooking in the time mentioned
Since, different stoves have different heat levels, cooking times can vary hugely. I myself have experienced cooking these pancakes in just 6 minutes to 10 minutes to as much as 26 minutes on three different stoves. So, understanding your stove is key. It will take 1-2 tries but you will surely be able to get that perfect timing as per your stove.
Watch How to Make Japanese Soufflé Pancakes
Sometimes simply reading through the recipe is not enough. You need to visualize the recipe, you need those exact hand movements and ways to achieve the proper end results. Therefore, I’ve created a recipe video as well to help you.
I tried making these pancakes 6 times and every time I used different measurements!! Yes, 6 times and that too on consecutive days! Just to get that perfect combination of softness, fluffiness, height, and structure. And the below measurements and techniques worked best for me!
Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes Recipe
For yolk mixture
Serving: 1 Pancake; 270 calories; 9.1 g fat; 37.5 g carbohydrates; 8.8 g protein; 194.7 mg cholesterol; 90 mg sodium.