These Japanese-style pancakes are soft and fluffy, and quite unlike the type of pancakes we eat in the West.

They are made with store cupboard ingredients, but are topped with a gorgeous crème anglaise, and then heated with a chef’s blowtorch to give the crust a beautiful crème brulee crunch.

Why not try these pancakes for a change at your next brunch?


Start by making the creme sauce. Whisk together the egg yolk, sugar, and flour until smooth, then whisk in the milk and strain through a sieve into a small pot. Heat the mixture over medium low heat, stirring until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Set aside.

For the pancakes:

Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of sugar, until the mixture is pale and frothy.

Add the milk in batches. Sift the flour and baking powder over the yolk mixture, and then whisk well making sure everything is mixed.

Whip the egg whites and the cream of tartar in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until they become frothy and pale. Add the sugar in a bit at a time, until the whites turn into a glossy thick meringue that holds peaks. Be careful not to over beat the whites.

Take 1/3 of the whipped egg whites and whisk them into the bowl with the yolks until completely mixed in. Add half of the remaining whites and whisk them into the yolk batter too, being careful not to knock the air out. Transfer the egg yolk mixture to the remaining egg whites, whisk and then use a spatula to fold everything together.

Heat a large, non-stick lidded frying pan. Very lightly brush the pan with oil, and use a paper towel to spread it around and give a light film.

Using a measuring cup, scoop about 1/4 cup batter onto the hot pan to make 3 separate pancakes, leaving space in between them. Cover with the lid and cook for 3 minutes.

Remove the lid and put some more batter on top of each pancake, then cover and continue to cook for 4-5 more minutes.

Take off the lid and use a spatula to lift the pancake to see underneath it. The pancake should come up easily.

If you still have any batter left, add it on top of the pancakes and then gently flip them over. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.

The pancakes will be tall and fluffy when they’re done. During the last cooking step, go back and make sure your creme sauce is still thin enough to pour. If needed, heat it up gently while whisking with extra milk to thin it out.

Once the pancakes are golden and cooked through, gently remove and stack on a plate.

Spoon the creme sauce on top and add a generous amount of sugar.

Carefully use a chef’s blowtorch to caramelize the sugar, and eat straight away.


If you don’t have a chef’s blowtorch, preheat your grill onto the highest setting, then put the dish with the pancake under it until the sugar has turned golden and caramelized.