Are you willing to line up for food? I’m not talking about a quick 20 minute line up that moves at a brisk pace, I’m talking about waiting in line for hours just to get a taste of something you’ve heard is good. I’m pretty much a sucker for hype and have totally waited in lineups not knowing what I was getting into. Even with my history of patient waiting, I’ve found that the line ups here in Tokyo put me to shame. There are literally queues for anything and everything that has a whiff of hype.
Right now, one of the hot trends is pancakes. The pancake lines are slowing migrating over to popcorn (not to sure why popcorn), but there are still some insane line ups for pancake houses. Eggs and Things, a Hawaiian chain with an outpost in Harajuku often has line ups that go down and wrap around the block. The lines are supposedly over 2 hours long and I just don’t understand the appeal. I love pancakes as much as anyone, but even I wouldn’t wait in a line up for over 2 hours. (Okay, who am I kidding. I totally have waited in 2 hour line ups.)
Line ups aside, the pancakes are pretty good in Tokyo. I haven’t been to Eggs and Things, but I have gone to some other pancake houses. Hoshino has insanely fluffy soufflé pancakes that I am totally going to try to recreate and Butter serves a Japanese style hamburger patty and fried egg on their pancakes. It goes to show, pancakes are perfect for fooling around with.
Pancakes are the perfect blank slate for flavour. They’re pretty adaptable and since I love Earl grey tea lattes, I decided to make a Earl Grey pancake. Earl Grey tea lattes are basically Earl Grey tea, steamed milk and vanilla syrup. These pancakes are essentially the same: Earl Grey steeped in warm milk with a splash of vanilla. They’re awesome with a smidgen of butter and syrup. I didn’t make vanilla syrup, but I think if I did, it would take these pancakes over the top.
Earl Grey Tea Latte Pancake Recipe
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 Earl grey tea bag
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon Earl grey tea leaves, optional (if you really like tea!)
- butter and syrup to serve
Preheat the oven to 225°F. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and tea bag to gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and let seep for 5 minutes or longer if you’d like a stronger tea flavor. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar in a bowl. When the milk tea mixture is completely cool, remove the tea bag, making sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Whisk the milk with the egg and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon Earl grey tea leaves. Stir until just combined, lumps are good. Let batter sit for 10 minutes.
Heat up a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Brush a thin layer of butter or oil on your pan. Drop the batter 1 1/2 tablespoons at a time into the pan. Cook until tiny bubbles appear on the surface, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Keep the pancakes in the warm oven until you’re finished pancaking. Enjoy warm with butter and syrup.