Anise Apple Pancakes with Maple Crème Fraîche, Japanese Hotcake Style

anise apple japanese-stye pancakes | le jus dI am now embracing fall with wide and open arms – and these pancakes are perfect for fall. Fluffy, light, cake-y pancakes studded with spiced apples and made aromatic and nutty by brown butter topped with maple crème fraîche and a healthy dose of Vermont maple syrup – who wouldn’t want to wake up to this? They’re easy to make and so satisfying (and filling!!). Japanese hotcakes are fluffier and lighter than their American complement. They’re made with milk and eggs, and to give it an extra fluff, I separated the eggs and whipped the egg whites into foamy peaks. It’ll take you longer than the typical pancake, but these pancakes are worth it. They’re tall, lightly cake-y pancakes, and I don’t think I’ll make any other type now. Plus, apple + anise are a match made in heaven. On a second thought, pork and anise are also extremely well paired. Maybe I’ll do some sort of pork + apple + anise roast…?? The possibilities are endless!

anise apple japanese-stye pancakes | le jus danise apple japanese-stye pancakes | le jus d

I’ve also been on an intense crème fraîche kick. I’ve basically substituted it for cream in almost everything I make – pasta, soups, other sauces.. It’s got a nice tang and wonderful texture to it. I had to top my pancakes with  crème fraîche. I lightly whipped it with some maple syrup, and it’s the perfect complement to these pancakes!

anise apple japanese-stye pancakes | le jus dI found these Blue Pearmain Heirloom apples at the market the other day – apparently they were Thoreau’s favorite apple!! Originated in New England in the late 18th/early 19th century. But any tart, crisp apple will work for this recipe!

Anise apple japanese-style pancakes | le jus dAnise apple japanese-style pancakes | le jus dAnise apple japanese-style pancakes | le jus dAnise apple japanese-style pancakes | le jus d

Anise apple japanese-style pancakes | le jus dAnise apple japanese-style pancakes | le jus d

To make them super pretty, you can make them in a mold, like CR does with his Japanese hotcakes, but I wasn’t fancy and just dropped 1/4 cupfuls onto a non-stick skillet. I adapted the recipe loosely from here, but the reason I call this “Japanese Hotcake Style” is that I sort of fused this with American-style pancakes. After several iterations, I came up with a ratio I was happy with – and you will be too :).
Anise apple japanese-style pancakes | le jus d

Anise-Apple-Japanese-Pancakes | le jus dAnise apple japanese-style pancakes | le jus dAnd another stop-motion vignette for y’all, because pancakes are fun and drenching them in maple syrup is an action that must be captured :P.

Stop Motion GIF - Anise apple japanese-style pancakes | le jus d

  • Try to use a digital scale. As with all Chinese/Japanese recipes and these types of delicate batters, the precision of ingredients measured is important. I highly recommend using a scale for the flour and the milk.
  • If you’re pressed for time, you don’t need to separately mix the yolks and egg whites. Beating the egg whites separately until stiff incorporates more air into the batter, yielding fluffier pancakes.
  • Star anise can be a very potent spice. I used 1 tsp initially, but that proved to be overwhelming. 1/2 tsp ground star anise was the perfect amount for me. If you’re not a fan of strongly spiced apples, then you may want to scale it back a bit more.
  • Do not skip the sifting step. This is also important in yielding a fluffy, light pancake.

Note: This post is sponsored by farmhouse pottery. All opinions are purely my own. 

Recipe: Anise-Apple Pancakes with Maple Crème Fraîche, Japanese-Hotcakes style

1 cup apple, peeled and finely diced
½ tsp star anise, ground
½ tsp ground cinnamon

200g all-purpose flour
3 tbsp brown sugar + 1 for apples
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, yolk and white separated
7 oz milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsalted butter – for brown butter

coconut oil or butter, for frying

Maple Crème Fraiche
1-2 tsp maple syrup
¼ cup vanilla crème fraiche


1| Add butter to skillet and cook until butter browns. Set aside.
2| Mix apple with star anise and cinnamon and brown sugar,
3| Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt together.
4| Combine egg yolk, milk, vanilla and whisk until well combined, about 3 minutes. Whisk egg white until light and fluffy, with peaks forming.
5| Add dry mixture into wet and fold until just incorporated. Add in egg white and fold gently until egg whites are just mixed in. It will look lumpy, which is fine. Fold in 1/2 cup of diced apples. Let rest for 15 minutes.
6| Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and grease with a bit of coconut oil or butter. Test by dropping one drop of water, and if it skitters across the surface and evaporates rapidly, it is ready.

7| Gently pour slightly less than ¼ cup of batter to form a smooth circle. You will see bubbles form and pop, and when it is dotted with multiple holes, flip the pancake and cook for another 2 minutes. Repeat.

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  • Um, YES PLEASE. I’ll take a stack. As long as you promise they will dance all pretty like in the last little gif here?! 😉 These seriously sound amazing, Betty. And as always – captured so crazy beautifully! Happy fall xoReplyCancel

  • Wowza! These are so gorgeous and they do look absolutely cake-y! Nice fluffy and thick, I know what I’m having for breakfast on my days off!ReplyCancel

  • I love that you have used Blue Pearmain apples, most supermarkets in the UK will not stock our old heirloom varieties, so people are not aware of them. Its such a shame as they have amazing flavour and a wonderful history. For me its just another excuse to buy all my fruit and vegetables at the local farmers market!

    I always whisk my egg whites separately when making waffles, as it makes them beautifully light. I can’t wait to try your gorgeous pancake recipe, Betty! xReplyCancel

  • That stop motion is THE BEST!!!! I love the spinning pancakes! The recipe looks great too. You are the best at stop motion. THE BEST!ReplyCancel

  • cannot. stop. watching. the spinning pancakes. your pancakes are unbelievable fluffy and thick, Betty!!! this is making me wish I could reverse this morning’s breakfast decision and make pancakes instead :(!ReplyCancel

  • Haha omygosh those pancakes are so awesome and have swag! It’s surprisingly mesmerizing to watch them…spin??? And I loooove love anise!!! It’s one of the greatest flavors to include in desserts,in my opinion, and quite underrated. Also, why is everything Japanese yummier, fluffier, creamier, and softer?!ReplyCancel

  • Yum! These pancakes look delicious. And these photos are amazing. Beautifully done!ReplyCancel

  • Maple Creme Fraiche! Anise Apple Pancakes! This is like all things fall and I want it for a lazy Sunday morning breakfast so badly! Also, that last gif… it’s everything. <3<3<3ReplyCancel

  • HOLY WOW THESE PHOTOS ARE INSANELY GORGEOUS. Betty. Omg. I’m playing catch up on blog posts today and am SO so glad I came back to these. They are exquisite. And I agree with Beau—THAT GIF!! I’m dying to have these RIGHT RIGHT NOW.ReplyCancel

  • barbara - impasto di emozioni

    Everything beautiful: colora, recipe and pics. I love all <3ReplyCancel

  • barbara - impasto di emozioni

    All is beautiful. Love your blog *_*ReplyCancel

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