Black sesame purin dorayaki

Dorayaki were one of the first wagashi I ever really came to adore. Mostly because being raised in America, I love pancakes, and dorayaki just being a pancake sandwich, was super appealing to me! I wanted to make a special dorayaki and I actually had this idea for over a year, but never was able to execute it because attempt #1 resulted in really weird looking sandwiches. So here we are, a year later, revisiting this concept. We have black sesame dorayaki pancakes with a black sesame flan or purin(in place of the more traditional red bean filling), and a kuromitsu(Japanese black sugar syrup) caramel. Purin was actually one of the first things I ever made, because it was super simple – just eggs, sugar, milk, and water. I made mine a little more-beginner friendly by opting for a no-bake purin instead, since the baked ones take forever to set and they are super temperamental.

For the kuromitsu caramel:
3 tablespoons kuromitsu syrup
1 tablespoon molasses
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup cold water in two parts
oil

In a pot, heat up the kuromitsu, molasses, salt, and one part of the water. Bring to a boil. Once the mixture registers 285 degrees F on a thermometer, take the caramel off heat and then add in the rest of your water. Mix until just combined. Line three cavities in a muffin tin(I used silicone molds for easier removal) with a thin layer of oil. Distribute the caramel between the three cavities and allow that mixture to cool down completely.

For the purin:
3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup black sesame powder
1 teaspoon activated charcoal powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons agar agar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat up the milk in a pot. In another bowl, whisk the other ingredients together, sans vanilla. Temper the milk with the mixed ingredients then whisk everything in the pot on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Pass through a sieve and mix in the vanilla. Distribute this mixture between the three oil-lined muffin tin cavities and then transfer to the freezer for at least two hours before unmolding. The more frozen the mixture, the easier it will be to remove the flans. If any caramel is still stuck to the mold, carefully remove it and place it directly back on top of the flans.

For the dorayaki pancakes:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1/3 cups warmed milk
2 tablespoons black sesame powder
1/4 teaspoon activated charcoal
oil

Whisk together ingredients, sans oil, to form a batter. Line a nonstick pan with oil. Pour about 1 tablespoon of batter onto the pan and heat on medium heat for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pancakes are browned evenly on the pan-facing side, while it has formed bubbles or craters on the other side. Once so, flip and allow the pancakes to cook on the bubbled/cratered side for another 20 seconds. Allow the pancakes to cool before using in the assembly.

For the chantilly cream:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Whip to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag.

To assemble:
Start with one pancake, cratered side up, then place the (ideally still frozen) flan on top of it. Pipe on some cream and finish with another pancake, this time, flat side up. Allow the flans to thaw at room temperature, about 30 minutes, before serving.

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