Chocolate, in a pancake, shaped like a ball! 🙂 The frying pan to make these intense and roundly compact chocolate ‘pancakes’ is very specialised, it is an Æbleskiver pan. The pan has several small half-spheres, where the cooked batter is ‘turned’ a quarter turn, and as each part of the sphere batter becomes solidified, the full sphere is made. These warm chocolate pancake balls, when served with whipped cream, also piped in, are a much more satisfying and filling version of a profiterole.
Chocolate Pancake Balls Recipe
Makes about 16 chocolate pancake balls
Some people rush the turning of the spheres, which is why they turn out like a fat discus, to get them round you must be patient and make four complete turns (pulling up in adjacent directions) rather than just two or three turns, even to the point of adding in a little extra batter half way through if necessary – which is why pouring from the spout of a jug is easier than using a ladle. You can brown them off once the sphere is made by spinning them around in the pan for as long as you want, which helps cook the interior.
- 220g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 60g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea-salt (ground)
- 150ml buttermilk
- 200ml milk
- 30g butter (melted)
- 4 large eggs (beaten)
- a chocolate nut spread (or a home-made chocolate sauce)
- whipped cream to serve (recommended)
- use wooden chopsticks to move the batter spheres around, these do not scratch the pan
- use a piping bag or patisserie syringe
To make the batter: sieve the flour, baking powder, and salt all into a large mixing bowl – make a well in the middle. Whisk the buttermilk, milk and melted butter together in another bowl. Pour the beaten eggs into the middle of the flour well, followed by several tablespoons of the buttermilk mixture.
Gently and gradually start to mix the flour into the wet ingredients – whisk from the edges working your way in to the middle, making a thick but smooth paste. At this point slowly start to add the rest of the buttermilk mixture, adding just a little at a time, and whisking thoroughly between each addition, until you have a smooth and lump free batter. Finally whisk in the caster sugar. Allow the batter to rest in the fridge for an hour. It is easier to pour the batter from a jug into the spheres than using a ladle from the bowl. Give it a final whisk before using.
To make the pancake balls: using a little sunflower oil, and a cloth or brush, lightly coat each half-sphere of the pan. Put the pan on to heat, until the oil is hot, then fill each sphere with the batter almost to the top (just a few millimetres shy as the batter rises as they heat). Allow the base of the batter to become solidified, check to see if one is loose by using a wooden chop-stick to pull it up. If it moves easily then they are ready to move, if it sticks a little then leave it another minute.
For the first turn move all the spheres up a quarter of a turn each. To turn them push the sharp end of the chop-stick into the top of each sphere, just below the surface and pull upwards, using the back of the pan as a guide, easing the batter sphere around. As you pull it gently up some of the liquid batter in the centre will run down to coat the bottom of the pan, and the round sphere will start to be made.
With a hot pan you don’t have to wait too long, just until each segment is a little browned and stiffened – by waiting too long the central batter, which we need to remain liquid, will start to dry out and leave us with only a little batter left to complete the circle. If at the half way point you think you need to add a little extra batter to complete the circle, do so. You can brown each sphere off in the pan after the ball shape is made.
When ready make the next turn, pulling up from an adjacent edge to the first one you first pulled up. Then let the base of the sphere brown off a little.
When ready make the next quarter of a turn, pulling up a different side, then wait to make the last turn, closing the sphere – you might need to add a little extra batter or tuck the edges in a little on the last turn – use the chop-sticks to push the seams together to close the spheres if necessary. Once the ball is made you can gently and carefully start to brown each pancake ball off by turning it in the pan.
Once browned and cooked through (so there is very little raw batter left in the centre) they should be carefully rolled on a plate with sugar on it, or sprinkled with icing (powdered) sugar. Let them cool down a bit and then pipe in the chocolate spread. Use a long narrow nozzle on a piping bag or patisserie syringe (or similar) you only need to pipe in a little chocolate spread.
To serve: when you want to serve either pipe in a little whipped cream, alongside the chocolate spread, or put three or four chocolate pancake balls in a bowl and drizzle over extra warmed chocolate sauce and double cream. Serve them warm.