I was old when I went to chef school …. stress made me twice my age when I left! I knew attending one of the top three schools in the world would require hard work, giving up my old, ingrained kitchen habits and practice, practice, practice until one gets it perfect BUT, I never bargained on the amount of self-imposed stress it would put on me! This was particularly evident when we made crepes. These delicate French pancakes had to be “thin enough to read a newspaper through!” My kitchen instincts told me that I wanted mine to be comforting … Chef insisted on thin; I made mine chewy … Chef insisted on delicate, and on and on..and the stress!!!
I love everything French but honestly I like my pancakes the South African way: chewy, rather on the thick than thin side and fluffy and substantial in a good way and in my own kitchen, that is exactly the way I make them!
For the pancakes:
This makes a batch of about 20 pancakes which is what you will need for an average sized cake that will feed eight people that really like tiramisu and pancakes.
500ml cake flour
2ml baking powder
Add the cake flour, baking powder and salt to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer.
Add the milk, water, oil and eggs to another mixing bowl and give it a really good whisk by hand so that the eggs break up and the ingredients mix together.
Fit the whisk attachment to the mixer and set it on low speed. Add the liquid ingredients in a trickle until the mixture starts to resemble a thick batter.
Turn the speed up a notch and keep adding the liquids. Stop pouring the liquids if you notice lumps in the batter and turn your mixer onto a high speed. Whisk until you see no more lumps, go back to a slower speed and add the rest of the liquid ingredients in a steady stream.
Give the batter a good whisk on high speed for about one minute.
Cover and leave to rest for at least an hour so that the flour can fully absorb the liquid ingredients.
Once rested, bake your pancakes. You will need oil in a non-stick pan for the first and/or second pancake and thereafter the oil in the batter should be enough to make the baking process joyful and oil less!
Leave the pancakes to cool completely before assembling.
250ml whipping/thick cream
30ml espresso coffee powder
15ml caramel extract or vanilla extract
50ml caster sugar, or more if you like it sweeter (taste as you go along)
Fit a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and soften the mascarpone by running the mixer on a low speed for a few minutes and scraping the mixture down every now and then.
Add the other tiramisu ingredients and whisk at medium/high speed until you have a thick creamy consistency that holds its shape.
Assemble your tiramisu cake by layering a pancake and two heaped tablespoons of tiramisu mixture. Keep building the cake until either the pancakes or the cream mixture runs out. Finish it off by dusting with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings.