This dish is a perfect example of why everyone has urged and pleaded with us our whole lives to read through a recipe in its entirety before starting to recreate it. It’s really not just something your mother says to wind you up or question your cooking abilities. Case in point, these ricotta pancakes that almost made me quit cooking for good. No sympathy please. It was my own fault.
I had just finished making that Mojito Pound Cake, and I really should have gone in the other room and passed out on the couch in self-satisfied exhaustion, but I’d been staring at a highly stylized image of golden fluffy pancakes sprinkled with plump summer berries for several weeks now and I desperately wanted to know what they tasted like. Plus it was only 10:00 AM. I could make two recipes in one morning, right? Not so much apparently.
My first error in judgment occurred when I decided to use the last of my so-called “grammy eggs” in hopes of achieving the ultimate in vibrant yellow coloring. I separated the yolks from the whites and promptly tossed the whites down the sink. I was happily mixing my way through the first step and moving onto step two when it dawned on me. The egg whites were part of the recipe! I frantically read through the rest of the instructions getting more annoyed by the second. Then I cracked three more eggs and threw the yolks down the sink. At this point I’d wasted a total of three eggs for this recipe and I wasn’t even close to being done. CK sat at the kitchen table staring at me warily, I glared back and he put on his headphones.
The rest of the construction went without incident. I whipped the whites into peaks and folded them into the bright and sunny batter. I ladled the correct amount onto my readied pan and waited. And waited. And waited. But apparently not long enough because my pancake promptly broke in half and made a complete mess of its sister pancake when I attempted a gentle flipping motion. Then I had a hissy fit, because when frustrated in the kitchen I tend to revert to my kindergarten level coping skills. After listening to me curse out our breakfast, CK saw fit to relieve me of my cooking duties. I sat off to the side pouting while he patiently cooked the remainder of the pancakes. Let’s just say he’s had more than a little practice as my “kitchen closer.”
The pancakes ended up being very fluffy and light and the citrus coated berries and powdered sugar were great on top, but I would never make these again unless I had one of those large grill pans that fits over two burners. I just don’t have the patience to cook two pancakes at a time in a medium skillet for 10 minutes. Next, time I think I’d rather have a handful of Dunkin Donut Munchkins and call it a day.
Ricotta-Lemon Pancakes (originally published in Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Healthful Cooking).
Serves 4 (Note: If they don’t stick to the pan).
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup 1-percent milk
3 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Pinch of cream of tartar
4 cups mixed berries such as whole blueberries and raspberries or trimmed and sliced strawberries
1 Tablespoon fresh Lemon juice
1 teaspoon canola oil
1-2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Preheat over to 250 F (120 C)
Place the ricotta in a large bowl. Add the milk, egg yolks, and granulated sugar and whisk together until blended. Add the flour, lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and using a rubber spatula, fold until just blended.
In a separate bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar and, using a whisk or a handheld electric mixer set on medium speed, beat until soft peaks form. Using the rubber spatula, carefully fold the beaten whites into the ricotta mixture just until blended.
In a bowl, combine the berries and lemon juice and stir gently to blend. Set aside.
Place a large nonstick griddle or frying pan with low sloping sides over medium heat until hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle and then immediately evaporate. Brush the surface with a thin film of canola oil. For each pancake, ladle a scant 1/3 cup batter onto the hot surface. Reduce the heat to a medium-low and cook until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pancakes and the bottoms are lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Carefully turn and cook until the other sides are lightly browned, 2-3 minutes longer. Transfer to an ovenproof platter and place in the oven to keep warm; do not cover the pancakes or they will get soggy. Repeat with the remaining batter. You will have enough batter to make 12 pancakes, each about 3 inches in diameter.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the warm pancakes generously with confectioners’ sugar to taste. Serve the pancakes with the berries on the side.