When Japanese custard pudding (purin) is sandwiched between two sweet pancakes (dorayaki), you get Purin Dora! With the rich buttery caramel running down the creamy and fluffy pancake, this is the ultimate Japanese sweet!
1 ⅓cupall-purpose flour (plain flour)(if you use a measuring cup, fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off. Otherwise, your flour ends up with more than 160 g.)
Gather all the ingredients. You will also need eight 4-oz (120-ml) ramekins.
1: To Make Caramel Sauce:
Prepare boiling water (you will only need 2 Tbsp) and a cold damp towel (for Step 4).
In a small saucepan, combine ⅔ cup (140 g) sugar and 2 Tbsp water over medium heat. Stir a few times and let the sugar dissolved.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, about 4 minutes, lower the heat to simmer. Gently swirl and tilt the pot around the heat (don't stir it) to distribute the color evenly until it becomes amber (like darker honey), about 6 minutes.
Once it reaches the desired amber color, immediately remove the pot from heat to a cold damp towel and add 2 Tbsp boiling water. It will create a huge splash so please be careful. You can shield yourself with a lid or wear oven mitts to protect your hands. Stir the saucepan to mix together. This will slightly thin out the caramel sauce and ensure it doesn’t become too thick in the ramekins.
[Optional] Briefly dip the ramekins in hot water to warm up and shake off excess water. This will prevent the caramel from solidifying.
While caramel is still hot, evenly distribute the caramel among the 8 ramekins. Set aside and let the caramel thicken naturally (which is why the caramel will not mix with the custard mixture later).
2: To Make Custard
In a small heat-resistant bowl, cut 4 gelatin sheets* into thin ½ inch (1.3 cm) strips. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) water to the bowl and set aside for 5-6 minutes until the gelatin “blooms” (expands). Make sure the bowl is larger than the opening of the saucepan you'll be using in Step 3 below.
In a saucepan bring 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water to simmer and place the bowl of gelatin mixture over the saucepan. Steam will immediately warm up the glass bowl and start dissolving the gelatin. Turn off the heat and set aside. If somehow you end up taking a longer time to do the following process and the gelatin has set into a solid, you will need to melt it back into a liquid with double boiler again.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 egg yolks and ⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp (80 g) sugar until pale and creamy.
In a medium saucepan, heat ⅔ cup (150 ml) milk over medium heat until the milk is warm to the touch. We’ll be using the other half of milk later on.
Slowly add in the warm milk, whisking constantly (tempering the egg mixture).
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats a spoon with a thin film, or small bubbles start to form at the edges of the saucepan, or reaches 160ºF (71ºC). Keep an eye on the pot ALL THE TIME; otherwise the mixture will burn on the bottom.
Add in the gelatin mixture (from Step 2 above) and mix well. Remove from the heat.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in the rest of the milk (⅔ cup, 150 ml).
Add ½ cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream and 2 tsp vanilla. We’re adding them at the end to help the mixture cool down faster.
Whisk all together. Transfer the mixture into a large cup with a pout (optional).
Divide the custard into the 8 ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight or up to 3 days. The caramel on the bottom will become thinner after the moisture from the custard transfers to the caramel.
Day 2 – Making Dorayaki
Gather all the ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine 4 eggs, ⅔ cup (140 g) sugar, and 2 Tbsp honey and whisk well until the mixture becomes fluffy.
Sift 1 ⅓ cup (160 g) all-purpose flour and 1 tsp baking powder into the bowl and mix all together.
Keep in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.
About 5 minutes before taking out the batter from the fridge, start heating a large non-stick frying pan over low heat. It's best to take your time and heat the pan slowly so there will be no hot spots. I keep the heat setting to the lowest for 5 minutes.
Take out the batter from the refrigerator. The batter should be slightly smoother now. Stir in 2 Tbsp* of water and whisk to combine until the batter reaches the ribbon stage (When you lift the whisk over the mixture, the batter falls slowly forming thick ribbons which hold their shape atop the batter). *Depends on the size of eggs and how accurate your flour measurement is, the water amount may vary, so start adding 1 Tbsp first, then slowly add more if needed.
Dip a paper towel in 1 tsp vegetable oil and coat the bottom of the pan with the oil. Then wipe off the oil completely (that's the key for evenly golden brown dorayaki surface).
With a ladle or a small measuring cup (I use a 4 Tbsp measuring cup), pour 3 Tbsp of the batter from 3" (8 cm) above the pan to create 3" (8 cm) diameter pancakes. Set timer for 90 seconds (with my gas stove "low setting" and frying pan).
Using an offset spatula, release the edges of the pancake, and then switch to a larger spatula and flip. Cook the other side for 30 seconds and then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. You do not need to oil the pan again. Continue making pancakes; you can make about 12 3-inch (8-cm) pancakes total.
Final Step – Assembly
To serve, run a small sharp knife around the edge of each ramekin to loosen the custard.
Place a pancake on your serving plate and invert the custard onto the center of the pancake. If it doesn’t release right away, gently shake the ramekin a few times or insert a knife/toothpick around the edges to release the custard. Place another pancake on top to sandwich the purin. Enjoy!
You can keep the purin and dorayaki separately. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
Gelatin Powder/Sheets: I buy these gelatin sheets. If you’re using powder gelatin, combine 3 tsp. (10 g) gelatin powder and ¼ cup (60 ml) water and let stand for 1 minute. Then microwave on high for 30-40 seconds, stir, and it’s ready to use. 1 pouch of Knox gelatin powder is 7 grams, about 2 ½ Tbsps.