Hotcakes with purin and cream

Whenever I am bored, I watch videos of people eating at Japanese cafes. I don’t know why, but it’s always fun to live vicariously through other peoples experiences! In one particular video, I saw people eating this super thick Japanese hotcakes, which are basically just fluffier, cakier pancakes. I also wanted to do something with purin, which is basically the Japanese equivalent to flan. I grew up on purin. In fact, it was the first thing I ever learned how to make! Sweetened egg custard set over a layer of caramel, then inverted upon serving. I figured that visually, it would look similar to the squares of butter that are served on top of a hotcake, while the caramel on the purin would sort of melt and glaze the hotcakes like maple syrup! Normally, purin is baked in a water bath on low heat, but I wanted to make sure that this was foolproof. So I opted to make a version where you could just set the purin in the freezer using agar, like a custard meets a panna cotta, then just turn it out and serve it on top of the still-warm hotcakes for a fun experience!

For the purin:
1/3 cup sugar, in two parts
2 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp cold water
1/2 cup milk
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp agar agar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

Line silicone molds with cooking spray(I used a 6-cavity cube to give my purin that butter-like appearance!). In a pot, heat up 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 2 tbsp hot water until golden brown in color. Then take off heat and add into your caramelized sugar the cold water. Mix quickly and distribute the caramel into your silicone molds. Transfer into the freezer. In a pot, heat up the milk with the remaining sugar, salt, and agar until everything is dissolved together. Pour half of the milk over your egg yolks while mixing, then combine everything back into the pot. Stir on low heat for 2 minutes. Then pour through a sieve and mix in the vanilla extract. Press the top of the mixture with a paper towel to remove any air bubbles. Pour the purin mixture into the silicone molds and freeze solid before attempting to unmold. Allow the purin to thaw before using to plate.

For the hotcakes:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp canola oil
2 egg whites
2 tbsp sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the flour, baking powder, buttermilk, and canola oil together first. Then in a bowl, whisk the egg whites with sugar, salt, and vanilla to stiff peaks. Fold the egg white mixture through the flour-buttermilk mixture to form your batter.

Line 4-inch crumpet molds with oil and place over a nonstick pan. Heat to pan on medium-low heat and pour in the batter. Allow the batter to cook, on low heat for 6 minutes before flipping the cakes and continuing to cook them for another 5 minutes.

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

Whip to stiff peaks. Keep refrigerated until time to plate.

To plate:
Place down your hotcakes first. Then place on top of those your purin, and finish with a quenelle of the cream on the side. Serve right away for an optimal serving experience!

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