Fresh mango chunk topped with fluffy whipped cream, then wrapped with a thin, moist and elastic crepe, pillow-shaped mango pancake is a dessert to die for.
During my holidays in China I always enjoy visiting a popular dessert chain in Beijing. It’s called Honeymoon dessert (满记甜品), a brand which originated in Hong Kong selling both Chinese traditional and Asian fusion desserts. I love its signature dish Mango Pancake (芒果班戟) so much I tried to replicate it in my own kitchen. It’s surprisingly simple to make! Soon, this light, refreshing and good-looking dessert became the best-loved dessert in our Red House.
Commonly known as mango pancake, this dessert doesn’t appear to be what its name suggests. It’s actually whipped cream and fresh mango chunks wrapped in a thin pillow shaped crepe (It’s more like a french crepe than an American pancake).
Mango pancake is not typically Chinese and its place of origin remains a mystery. According to my online research, mango pancakes are very popular in many Hong Kong bakeries and dessert shops. They are pillow-shaped like the ones I had in Beijing. Whereas in Australia, mango pancakes come in a roll shape (like spring rolls) and are commonly severed in Chinese restaurants (especially yum cha restaurants).
I love fresh fruit and I appreciate a light dessert after dinner, but I don’t have a sweet tooth. Mango pancake is a perfect choice for me. I adore its three layers of texture: moist and elastic pancake; light and fluffy whipped cream; soft and slippery mango. It tastes divine! When I figured out how to make it at home, I was delighted!
Make the pancake
The pancake should be very thin, smooth, moist and slightly elastic. I have a few tips to help you achieve the desired texture:
- Prepare the batter following the recipe that I’ve tested many times. It should have a smooth, runny consistency.
- Pour the batter through a sieve to get rid of the lumpy parts.
- Keep the frying pan at the right temperature: low enough to allow the batter to swirl into a nice round shape, yet high enough to cook the crepe in a short period of time without drying it out. You might find it a bit tricky making the first 1 or 2 pancakes. I’m sure you will soon figure out the best level of heat for your pan.
Whip the cream
Add some vanilla extract to the cream then whip until stiff peaks form. Icing sugar is optional. Personally I don’t add any as I find the sweetness from the pancake and the mango is perfect for my taste.
Slice the mango
Choose ripe mango then cut its flesh into chunks. For a better presentation, I suggest using one single piece of mango for each pancake. When you cut the pancake through, a nice neat look will appear on each side.
Shape the pillow
Be gentle! When wrapping, use minimum pressure on the pancake. Otherwise you might tear the pancake or push the cream to the side then end up with a very flat pillow.
Why not try other fruits?
Apart from mango pancakes, durian pancakes are also very popular in the Honeymoon dessert chain. Since durian is not commonly available in the UK, I picked other fruits as filling. Strawberry and kiwi are my favourites. They both have sweet, soft flesh and they look stunning when cut through. Banana, melon and ripe peach also work for this recipe.
Colour the pancake
Believing in “we eat with our eyes first”, I experimented with several ways to colour the pancakes. To match the yellow / orange colour of mango, I replace corn starch with custard powder (Bird’s Custard) which gives the batter a yellower look. For strawberry, I add a little juice from beetroot to achieve a pink colour. Matcha powder (finely ground powder of green tea, commonly used in Japanese cuisine) is added for a green appearance to match kiwi fruit.
Hong Kong style mango pancake (芒果班戟)
For the pancakes
- 240 ml milk, 1 cup
- 50 g all-purpose flour , 1/3 cup, see note 3
- 30 g corn starch or custard powder, 1/4 cup, see note 4
- 25 g icing sugar, 1/4 cup
- 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp butter, melted
For the filling
- 300 ml whipping cream, 1 1/4 cups
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tbsp icing sugar
- 2 large mango, peeled & cut into chunks
Prepare the batter
- Pour milk into a mixing bowl. Sift flour, corn starch (or custard powder) and icing sugar into the bowl. Mix with a balloon whisk until well combined.
- Add lightly beaten eggs and melted butter. Mix well.
- Through a sieve, pour the mixture into a bowl/measuring cup (ideally with a pouring spout).
Cook the pancakes
- Heat up a non-stick frying pan over a low heat.
- Pour a small amount of batter onto the pan then swirl quickly to form a very thin disk.
- When small air pockets appear under the pancake, remove the pancake and place it on a plate to cool (no need to cook the other side).
- Repeat the procedure until you finish the mixture (see note 5).
Whip the cream
- While waiting for the pancakes to cool, whip the cream, vanilla extract & icing sugar until stiff peaks form.
Assemble the pancakes
- Lay one pancake on a flat surface (clear, smooth side facing down).
- Spoon some whipped cream onto the middle of the pancake. Place one piece of mango on top.
- Wrap the filling from four sides of the pancake to form a pillow-like shape. Place it on a serving plate with the folded side facing down.
Store & serve
- You may serve the pancakes straight away. However, I suggest that you refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes before serving. This way the cream will be firmer thus the pancakes will look better when cut through.
Voilà! This is my long post about a very simple yet delectable dessert. If you’ve already tasted mango pancake, don’t hesitate to give my recipe a try. It will taste as good as the ones you paid for (if not better). If you are new to this delicacy, this is a great chance for you to discover a wonderful dessert.
If you are looking for Chinese dessert ideas, please check out another two scrumptious recipes on my blog (see links below).
Happy cooking !
More sweet treats to discover: