Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC
Dorayaki are simple, homey pancakes filled, traditionally, with “anko”, sweetened adzuki bean paste. Enjoy them for breakfast or as a snack or dessert. Any cake that uses beans is a winning formula in my book, so I tweaked these dorayaki cleaner and greener, by ditching its milk, eggs, honey and sugar. They may be a little unorthodox but they’re delicious and certainly better for us and the climate.
Like most legumes, adzuki beans generate relatively few greenhouse gas emissions. Petite red beans, adzuki beans are also quite health-promoting, very low in fat and with hefty amounts of fiber, protein, potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B-6, and calcium.
Prep time 1 hour to cook the beans plus 20 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Makes five 3-inch dorayaki
1 cup dry adzuki beans to make 3 cups cooked
2 cups pitted dates to make about 1½ cups date paste
2¼ teaspoons shiro (mild, white) miso paste
1 cup better buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Pinch saffron pistils, bloomed in 1 teaspoon very hot water
1 cup white whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon sodium-free baking soda
1 teaspoon sodium-free baking powder
Hint: The cultured soy buttermilk makes a particularly tasty, moist dorayaki, but if you don’t have it, substitute the buttermilk for 1 cup unsweetened soymilk and eliminate the baking soda.
To make the date paste, cover the dates with water in a pryex bowl and microwave for 2½ minutes. Keep them submerged and allow 10 minutes to fully soften. Alternatively, you can cook them in water on the stovetop. Transfer the softened dates with only as much of their soaking water as required to a high-speed blender. Liquify for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl after a minute. The paste should be very smooth and rather dense. Transfer the date paste to a bowl.
Create the saffron “tea” by crumbling the pistils between your thumb and index fingers into a small bowl. Add a teaspoon of very hot water. The tea will steep until we make the dorayaki pancake batter, below.
Rinse the adzuki beans. Place in a pot, cover with water by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and allow the beans to steep for around 30 minutes to swell and sink in the pot. If the beans are old, they may require more time. Drain, refill the pot, and cook on a low simmer until the adzuki beans are tender but intact, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain but reserve the cooking water and allow the beans to cool.
In a high-speed blender add the beans, 1 1/3 cups date paste, and 2 teaspoons shiro miso paste. Blend on high speed for two minutes or until the anko is smooth and dense. Add a teaspoon or two of the bean soaking water, if needed, to facilitate blending. The anko should be quite dense or it will squeeze out of the dorayaki. Taste and correct the seasonings as you prefer. Transfer the anko to a bowl and rinse out the blender bowl.
Now add the buttermilk, vanilla extract or paste, saffron tea, and ¼ teaspoon shiro miso, and ¼ cup plus 1½ teaspoons of date paste to the blender bowl. Run for 30 seconds to combine. Now add the whole white wheat flour, and the baking soda and baking powder. Run on high speed to two minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The batter will thicken as the leavening agents are activated. Transfer the batter to a bowl.
Heat a large, good quality non-stick skillet on a low flame for 5 minutes. When a flick of water across its surface sputters and evaporates, the pan is ready. Note, if the pan is too hot, it will darken the pancakes too much; if the pan is too cool, the pancakes will stick. You can adjust your heat level by starting with a single pancake.
Using a quarter-cup measuring cup scoop up batter and pour onto the preheated skillet. It should create a 3-inch round pancake. Bubbles will form on the surface as CO2 escapes. When the surface has lost its glossiness and is lightly golden on its edges, use a thin silicone or nylon spatula to flip it over. The underside should be golden, neither too light or dark. Cook for about a minute on the other side, then transfer to a cutting board. Repeat with the remaining batter.
When the pancakes are all cooked, and have cooled, spoon about a tablespoon of anko paste on the underside of one pancake, cover with another, top side up. With your palms gently press the pancakes around their perimeters to create a rounded shape. Remove any excess filling that squeezes out if you have overfilled the dorayaki. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until use. The wrap will help retain dorayaki’s classic domed shape.
Serve at room temp or slightly warmed with a delicious hot cup of green tea.
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