Friday, June 8, 2012

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Although I love the Clinton St. Baking Company pancakes (they're famous for them), having some additional pancake recipes in your arsenal doesn't hurt (although it might hurt your waistline). I loved having brunch recently at Five Points Restaurant in NYC and followed it up by borrowing their brunch cookbook from my local library (the book is currently out of print). There were lots of delicious brunch recipes within its pages, but I indeed gravitated toward the lemon ricotta pancakes. The addition of ricotta yields a very tender pancake, and the lemon zest really brightens it up as well. Overall I really enjoyed these pancakes! The batter was very thick and actually needed to be spread out a bit on the griddle (unlike other pancakes that pool into perfect rounds on their own), but other than this one additional challenge (if you can call it that), these are a lovely addition to any breakfast or brunch menu. Or you can do what I do, make breakfast for dinner :)

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Serves 4
(Adapted from Brunch: 100 Recipes From Five Points Restaurant)

2 cups ricotta (about 1 lb)
4 large eggs, separated
Zest of 1 lemon*
Pinch of kosher salt
Dash of pure vanilla extract
2 T. sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
7 T. unsalted butter, melted, plus additional butter as necessary to cook pancakes
Maple syrup, warmed

Set an ovenproof platter or a baking sheet with a cooling rack on top of it into the oven, and turn on the oven to 200 degrees F.

Beat the ricotta and egg yolks together in a large mixing bowl with the lemon zest, salt, vanilla, and sugar. Stir in the flour and melted butter, working the batter just until homogeneous and smooth.

Whip the egg whites with a whisk or handheld mixer until they hold a stiff peak. With a rubber spatula, gingerly fold half of the whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining half. Don't worry if the resulting batter is slightly striped with egg whites--they keep the pancakes light and airy.

Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then grease the pan with a teaspoon or more butter. When the butter starts to sizzle, turn the heat up a touch and ladle in 3 1/2-to-4-inch pancakes.

After a couple minutes, when the bottoms of the pancakes are somewhere between mottled and uniformly brown, flip them and cook another 2 minutes on the second side. Transfer finished pancakes to the platter in the oven and repeat with the remaining batter. Put your serving plates in the oven to warm before adding the last of the batter to the pan.

Serve the pancakes on the warmed plates, with warmed maple syrup on the side.

*If you like, you can substitute orange zest for the lemon (and add a splash of orange flower water if you have it on hand) to make Orange Ricotta Pancakes.


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