It's wedding season again and in a few weeks I'll be heading back to the States for the East Coast to attend the first of four weddings this year. It's been two years since I've been to New York City, a.k.a. My Absolute Favorite City for Eating. When I go to NYC I do very little besides trying local favorites and hot new restaurants - its research! What other city has restaurants and eateries featuring every type of cuisine imaginable or businesses simply dedicated to rice pudding or macaroni & cheese? Unfortunately, last time my gluttonous indulgences had very serious consequences, including me spending a week in the hospital. So, I've had to tone down my NYC eating tours.
While brunch is a must in NYC, its probably one of the first things I'm willing to give up. Why? Because brunch foods are so easily created at home. Not to mention the fact that as I get older I find I don't have the patience to wait an hour in line for much and certainly not for the first meal of the day.
In anticipation for missed brunches in NYC I'm getting my fix at home. Tender and rich ricotta pancakes with a touch of sugar and lemon, smothered in warmed blueberry maple syrup. And, no waiting in line.
This recipe is adapted from New York City's Five Points Restaurant, a popular spot for weekend brunch. This recipe serves 4 people.
LEMON RICOTTA PANCAKES
- 2 cups ricotta, drained of any excess liquid
- 4 large eggs, separated
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 Tbs sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3 1/2 ounces butter, melted and cooled to room temp
- Extra butter for the griddle
In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks and ricotta. Make sure that any lumps in the ricotta are whisked smooth. Whisk in lemon zest, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Continue using the whisk and add flour. Use the whisk as if you are using a spatula and fold in the flour, then gently whisk in the melted butter. Take care not to work the flour too much as it will make the pancakes tough. Set aside.
In a separate bowl whip the whites. For this size recipe I whisk them by hand...its a great workout for the arms. If you are doubling the recipe its probably better to use beaters. Whip them to soft peaks. Take half the whites and fold them in ricotta mixture. Once combined, fold in the remaining whites. Be gentle as to not kill the air in the batter.
Heat griddle to medium high. Add generous amounts of butter to melt on the griddle. Scoop pancake batter onto the griddle. This pancake batter does not spread much once it hits the heat. I keep the domed batter on till it creates a golden brown crust and can be flipped. Then I press into a more thin pancake shape. Once that side is golden brown, I flip again and brown any parts on the first side that weren't browned initially.
Serve with blueberry maple syrup. This is easily made by adding fresh blueberries and maple syrup to a small sauce pan. Once it comes to a simmer take off the heat and serve with pancakes.
With warm blueberry maple syrup is my favorite way to have these pancakes, but if you omit the sugar, and cook them in small silver dollar sizes, they are a delicious blini. With a hint of lemon they are the perfect base for crème fraîche + caviar or smoked salmon.