It may sound an odd confession, coming from a lover of all things sweet at breakfast-time, but amidst all my plates of toast with jams, various incarnations of fruit and oatmeal, egg-dishes, muffins, and scones, pancakes have never been a dish of preference. Perhaps the idea of cleaning more than one bowl after eating, or having an excess of stacked flapjacks to do away with (meaning eventually eating them all myself…) were the culprits of reasoning behind my long avoidance of such breakfast fare. But the sense of celebration in the air as the entire community waited excitedly for the bloom of the cherry blossom, as well as a sense of festivity for the Easter holiday, were so pervading and the Saturday sunshine so fine (never mind that is was 43 degrees), I declared a special occasion in the kitchen and made some dazzlingly decadent lemon-ricotta pancakes.
Well, lemon-ricotta almost pancakes…More like full-bodied crepes, or a very skinny pancakes. Due to the fact that I had to clear out the entire refrigerator in preparation for the delivery of a new one (along with the new oven!!) on Saturday prompted me to do some creative thinking and cooking on my feet that day. And lemon-ricotta pancakes seemed the perfect way to use up a meager half of an already-zested lemon, as well as the last of the homemade ricotta I made earlier in the week (recipe below), as part of my no-oven baking fix. Although I intended to follow the recipe of my inspiration for all things cooking, Smitten Kitchen, I had only one of the four called-for eggs, so I halved the recipe and decided to make a thinner batter with milk instead.
Which resulted in some curious but wonderfully light and delicious “pan-crepes,” as I’ve christened them. And while at first I was a little concerned over the relative lack of fluff (maybe I’m just used to the typical stout American pancake?), with a drizzle of warmed lemon curd, a dusting of powdered sugar, and a dollop of fresh ricotta to finish, any qualms I had about insubstantiality were immediately dashed. In fact, full-bellied and contented as I was, I set off for an entire morning of cherry blossom viewing around the town and a visit to the farmer’s market at the festival, returning home laden with adorable tomato “berries” and a bunch of bananas numerous enough to satisfy even the hungriest monkey for at least a month. May your breakfasts follow in similar celebration for spring and all the bounty to come!
110 grams ricotta (1/2 cup)
1 egg, separated
1/2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs milk
1/2 Tbs lemon juice (and/or lemon zest)
40 grams flour (1/3 cup)
1/2 tsp baking soda
In a medium-size bowl, mix ricotta and egg yolk with a spatula. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and sugar.
In another bowl, beat egg white until stiff peaks form, adding in a pinch of salt just before whites stiffen.
Stir flour mixture into ricotta/yolk mixture and blend until just incorporated. Add lemon juice and zest if using. Fold in egg whites with a few careful strokes–it’s okay if some whites still remain. Heat a wide skillet over medium-low heat, melt a small pea-sized pat of butter, and ladle in batter by 1/4 cupful. Cook until bubbles form and break the surface of the pancake, then flip and cook the other side for an additional minute. Keep on a warm plate until ready to eat. To serve, dust with powdered sugar, add a dollop of ricotta, and drizzle with honey. Additionally, you can thin a tablespoon of lemon curd with milk or cream in the microwave until desired consistency, and drizzle over pan-crepes for an extra lemon-kick.
Makes four six-inch pan-crepes.
slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s ricotta
makes a generous 1/2 cup
1 1/2 Cups whole milk
1/2 Cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp sea salt
3/4 Tbs lemon juice
Combine milk, cream, and salt in a saucepan, and simmer over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until milk just begins to simmer, or small bubbles form at the edge of the pan. Turn heat off, add lemon juice, stir just once or twice to combine, and let sit undisturbed for five minutes. When the mixture has separated, drain over a cheesecloth suspended over a large bowl. After one hour, the cheese will be a very creamy consistency, like creme fraiche. After two hours, it will firm up to the consistency of cream cheese. Discard whey, and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. The cheese is at its most fresh if used within 3-4 days.
Spread over toast with a drizzle of olive oil or pinch of salt and pepper, with pan-crepes, or alongside fresh fruit and veggies :)