Tiramisu Pancakes

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Credit: Kelli Foster

You know those breakfasts that are so tasty and indulgent that they make you question whether they could double up as a dessert? These tiramisu pancakes fit that brief pretty neatly, and will be the perfect treat this Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent starts, and my family always makes pancakes as our final treat. I tend to give up sugary sweets for the 40 days of Lent, given that it’s my weakness, which may come as no surprise to you if you’ve seen me on The Great British Baking Show.

Tiramisu is one of those classic desserts that just has the perfect combination of flavors — strong, bitter coffee paired with slightly boozy, vanilla mascarpone, and a hint of cocoa making the dessert oh-so moreish. I thought, seeing as so many of us need a caffeine hit in the morning, why not transform that classic Italian dessert into a stack of pancakes? So I did it. And the verdict? Life-changing. I don’t think I can ever eat a normal stack of pancakes again. And now I want to change your lives for the better.

Think about it: fluffy, coffee-infused pancakes studded with chocolate chips for little bursts of sweetness, layered with silky-smooth mascarpone cream, and drenched in a coffee maple syrup. Every single element packs a punch of flavor and a different texture, making the whole eating experience just … a dream. Whether you make this for breakfast or dessert, you’ll enjoy every bite.

My top tip here is go low and slow — frying pancakes is a test of patience. Please don’t be tempted to turn up the heat, as you will end up burning your pancakes and they may be raw inside! Trust the process, and they’ll come out perfectly fluffy. 

This recipe transforms the Italian classic dessert into a stack of slightly boozy, slightly caffeinated pancakes.

Ingredients

For the pancakes:

  • 1/4 cup

    instant coffee granules

  • 2 tablespoons

    hot water

  • 1/2 cup

    regular or unsweetened dairy-free milk

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    coffee extract, such as Nielsen-Massey

  • 1

    large egg

  • 2 tablespoons

    melted unsalted butter (cooled slightly) or olive oil

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    distilled white or apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    milk chocolate chips, divided

For the mascarpone cream:

  • 1 cup

    mascarpone cheese, preferably at room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons

    honey

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

  • 2 teaspoons

    coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa, or 1/4 teaspoon coffee extract (optional)

  • 1/2 cup

    cold heavy cream

For the coffee maple syrup:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    hot water

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    instant coffee granules

  • 1/4 cup

    maple syrup

Garnishes:

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 (1-ounce) piece

    dark chocolate

Instructions

Make the pancake batter:

  1. Place 1/4 cup instant coffee granules and 2 tablespoons hot water in a medium bowl and whisk until the coffee is dissolved. Add 1/2 cup milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon coffee extract, and whisk until combined. Add 1 large egg and 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or olive oil, and whisk to combine.

  2. Place 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. While whisking constantly, pour the coffee mixture into the well and whisk until there are almost no more lumps. Add 1/2 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar and whisk until combined and mostly smooth (a few small lumps are okay).

  4. Let the batter rest for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the mascarpone cream and maple syrup.

Make the mascarpone cream:

  1. Place 1 cup mascarpone cheese, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 2 teaspoons coffee liqueur or 1/4 teaspoon coffee extract if desired in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

  2. Place 1/2 cup cold heavy cream in a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Add to the mascarpone mixture and gently fold to combine. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Make the coffee infused maple syrup:

  1. Place 1 1/2 teaspoons hot water and 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules in a small saucepan and stir until the coffee is dissolved. Add 1/4 cup maple syrup and heat over low heat until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl or small pitcher.

Cook the pancakes:

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Drop 1/4-cup portions of the batter (it will be thick, scrape it out of the measuring cup) into the pan, 3 for a 12-inch pan.

  2. Sprinkle about 10 milk chocolate chips onto each pancake. Cook undisturbed until bubbles form on the top and the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes. Carefully flip the pancakes with a flat spatula and cook until the second side is golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate, stacking them. Cook the remaining batter, adding more butter to the pan as needed before each batch.

Assemble the tiramisu:

  1. Place 1 pancake on a plate, top with about 1 heaping tablespoon of the mascarpone cream, and spread into an even layer. Repeat stacking the remaining pancakes, spreading mascarpone cream between each layer. Spread all the remaining mascarpone cream on the top pancake.

  2. Place 1 tablespoon cocoa powder in a small fine-mesh strainer and dust the stack of pancakes with cocoa powder. Place 1 (1-ounce) piece dark chocolate on a cutting board and use a knife to thinly slice it into shards. Arrange the shards on the pancake stack.

  3. To serve, drench either the entire stack in the coffee maple syrup or serve on the side.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The mascarpone filling can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Storage: The pancakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Alternatively, freeze in a single layer, then transfer to a zip top bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat in a 325ºF oven until warmed through, 7 to 15 minutes.

Crystelle Pereira

Contributor

Crystelle Pereira is a 26-year old quick-witted cook and baker from London. Born in North London to Kenyan born, Portuguese-Goan parents, Crystelle loves sharing her Portuguese-Goan recipes. She stole the hearts of the nation in the Great British Bake Off (Channel 4 and Netflix USA, 2021). In December 2021, Vanity Fair named Crystelle as one of their Top Performances of 2021 alongside a whole host of Hollywood stars. Crystelle has a loyal following of predominantly UK and US audiences. Her short-form Reels and TikTok amass hundreds of thousands of views. Crystelle speaks four languages and spent the past few years working in a top finance firm.

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