Kanda in the Kitchen III: Hotcakes

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For this recipe you’ll need a good, large frying pan (heavy pans work best), a whisk (or hand/stand mixer), and a flexible spatula.
Makes ~7 hotcakes.

Difficulty: 2 stars (**)
As long as you can make a meringue, everything else is very easy. Just watch the pan doesn’t get too hot!

Time needed: ~30 minutes (10~15 minutes to prepare, 15~20 minutes to cook)

Ingredients

2    eggs, yolk and white separated into two bowls (put the yolk in the bigger bowl that’ll become your batter bowl; whites in a bowl in which you can whisk, preferably metal, glass, or porcelain)
100g    sugar, separated into two cups/prep bowls of 50g each
150ml    milk
200g    cake flour (all purpose is fine)
½ tsp    baking powder

Method

  1. Sift together flour and baking powder and set aside.
  2. Make a simple meringue by whisking the egg whites quickly, then adding 50g of the sugar about a ⅓ at a time until soft peaks form. If you bring the whisk up above and out of the meringue, the tip should look like a slightly melted Hershey’s kiss.
  3. Cream together the yolk and the remaining 50g of sugar until very pale yellow. Add the milk and flour/baking powder mixture and stir well.
  4. Whisk in the meringue quickly as to maintain air, yet so there are no white flecks. You can also fold in using a spatula.
  5. Oil a frying pan and preheat to a high heat (7~8 out of 10). Take a wet towel and quickly wipe the hot surface, lower to a medium heat (4~5, 6 if not browning enough), then spoon the batter onto the frying pan.
    • I recommend a gravy spoon or a large serving spoon (something that will pour to a diameter of ~10cm [~4-5in] to the thickness of 0.5cm [~1/4in]).
  6. Cook for 2~3 minutes until small bubbles form at the top of the batter and you can feel the spatula slide under the hotcake easily. Flip, then cook for another 30 seconds or until browned to liking underneath.
  7. Wipe the pan each time with a wet (paper) towel before pouring the batter.
  8. For best pattern, spoon or pour batter in one central spot and let batter spread on its own.

Modification – flavored hotcakes

You can add fruit or chocolate to the batter before cooking it to have different flavors! Blueberries, mashed strawberries, orange, cinnamon, chocolate, banana… it’s up to you! Add any to taste.

Addition – flavored butter sauces

50g    butter, softened and cut into smaller cubes
50g    granulated sugar
1    egg

Flavor options

1    passion fruit, insides and juice
1    orange, zest and juice (with 2 tsp lemon juice)
1    lemon, juice only (roughly 1/4 cup)
½    grapefruit’s juice with a little lemon juice
100ml    pineapple juice & 50g chopped pineapple

Beat egg well in a small pot, then add the sugar and one of the fruit flavor options over low heat (3~4). Once it thickens, turn the heat off then stir in the softened butter with a wooden spoon. Refrigerate before enjoying.

Addition 2 – Chocolate butter & maple butter

100ml    heavy cream
80g    chopped chocolate (if using chips, I recommend anything but semi-sweet)
40g    butter

Either heat the cream and chocolate together in a small pot until it melts, or use the ganache method of microwaving both together in small increments until melted, then stir in the butter.

30g    granulated sugar
80g    butter
30ml    maple syrup

Heat the sugar in a small pan until it turns into a caramel-like state (don’t stir, just let melt but watch that it doesn’t burn), then turn off the heat and stir in the butter. Finally, add the maple syrup and stir.

Tips/Comments

“My first one didn’t turn out well…”

That’s normal–it’ll take a lot longer to cook your first one than it will to cook the rest, especially if you’re looking for that nice golden color. Even if it’s pale (and almost white), it’s still edible (and delicious). I usually munch on that while I’m cooking so I’m not starving by the end of cooking all my hotcakes.

“What’s up with that texture?”

If the meringue isn’t “stiff” enough, what may happen is your hotcakes will get a little chewy/rubbery. It still tastes good, but it may not be as soft as you first expect. Don’t fret about it—just try again if it’s not the texture you like!

“Why is it ‘hotcakes’ and not ‘pancakes’?”

I got this recipe from a Japanese cookbook, and the overall sentiment regarding pancake v. hotcake is that pancakes are slightly more savory (a tad more salt and a tad less sugar) and is thinner than a hotcake. Pancakes are fine for breakfast fare, but hotcakes are seen as more luxurious and more dessert-like than breakfast-like.

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