Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

I am so excited to finally be posting a pancake recipe! I must admit that this is not the first time I have made these pancakes, but this is definitely the first that these, or any other pancakes I have made, turned out correctly. The thing is...I'm awful at making pancakes! I have tried several times, mostly over this past summer, and each time I was left with a disappointing mess. Even though the pancakes tasted good I could never quite figure out the technique behind the flipping and therefore my pancakes looked horrible...misshapen and uneven, sometimes burnt or pieced together. Today my flipping issues were finally put behind me and I made a giant stack of beautifully perfect pancakes.

The first time I made these pancakes they tasted delicious so I really wanted to try my hand at them again and after making moussaka earlier in the week I had extra ricotta cheese leftover. In fact, I had exactly the right amount called for in the recipe. I was awakened early this morning by a phone call and couldn't get back to sleep so I decided I would make the pancakes for breakfast for the entire family. I don't know why this time in particular I finally got the flipping technique down, and why it has eluded me in the past. It took me a while to get the pan to exactly the right temperature and time my flips so that I had a beautiful golden color every time.

Once I got my "flipping groove" on I dared myself to pour out two at a time. Previously, I had been working at a slow and steady pace, pouring one pancake at a time in the center of the pan and giving myself plenty of room to flip it over. However I decided that since I was doing such a good job with the one pancake I should at least attempt two. Luckily for me, my flipping skills withstood the little challenge and I continued to make the rest two at a time. At first it took me a little bit off guard as I had to figure out how to best flip one without messing up the other, but once I got the spacing down I was on a roll. Even though I was actually only using one hand to flip, somehow I found it reassuring to hold a spatula in each gave me a sense of balance. Every time I plated another pancake I let out a little squeal of joy; good thing everyone was still asleep and no one was watching me.

As far as the taste goes, I already knew that the pancakes would be well received by my family because they quite enjoyed them last time. The lemon flavor is really strong because the recipe calls for both the zest and juice of a lemon. Also, the pancakes are extremely light because the eggs are separated and the whites are beaten with sugar before being folded into the rest of the batter. This gives the pancakes a sense of airiness which offsets any graininess that one might think would come from the use of ricotta. I'm so happy that my pancakes finally turned out the way I imagined them to be. Hopefully my newly acquired flipping skills are here to stay and I will be able to post more pancake recipes soon!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Note: This recipe makes about 24 palm-sized pancakes.
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, milk, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice and whisk together.
  2. Add the flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt and whisk just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the sugar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form.
  4. Fold one third of the egg whites into the lemon ricotta mixture until completely incorporated. Gently fold or whisk in the rest of the egg whites until no more white streaks are present.
  5. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, reduce the temperature to medium low and pour 1/3 cup of batter onto the cooking surface. Allow the pancake to cook until bubbles start to form on the top surface, about 15-20 seconds, then use a large spatula to gently flip the pancake over. Cook the other side until it is light and golden and fully cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter.
Note: You may have to go through a couple of "test" pancakes before you achieve the right temperature on the griddle or skillet. Finished pancakes can be kept warm in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit while the rest are cooking.

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