No stodge, no blah: How to make pancakes sexy again
This ricotta pancake recipe gives us a new reason to crave a light and fluffy stack of the lovely things
Pancakes have a very, very long history – if online sources are to be trusted. Apparently Otzi “The Iceman” – whose corpse has been preserved for over 5,000 years – had pancake remains in his belly. Even if we discount that, we do know that the cunning Greeks and Romans were whipping up pancakes, sweetened with honey, about 2,000 years back. Ever since that time, there’s been rampant pancake joy. But in very recent years, chocolate ganache cronuts, matcha cookies (and even the no-gluten wave) have rendered pancakes less desirable. Compared to the sexier pastries and confections, they seem too stodgy, too blah.
Enter ricotta pancakes – the one recipe that escapes both the stodge and the blah.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, everyone was making this. It was peak Australian chef time, and Bill Granger’s ricotta hotcakes went viral … before things even went viral. Ricotta pancakes were almost as ubiquitous as sun-dried tomatoes by the mid 2000s. Then, sadly, everyone moved on. Recently I’ve seen them served here and there, but they simply aren’t the puffy delights I knew and loved.
Making them at home is the only way to understand how utterly fantastic they can be. These “hotcakes” – in the thick, stacked style of US pancakes – are light, soft, and even elegant.
Bonus? Though the anti-gluten wave can sometimes feel annoying, the truth is that most humans would probably be better off without grains (whether containing gluten or not), particularly refined grains. Thus a pancake higher on the dairy and egg side, and lower on the empty starch side, is already a better choice. Double bonus? It’s delicious.
Below, I combine Granger’s recipe with others that add the zest of lemon, but feel free to leave it out. I’m going to assume that you, wise reader, will be using free-range eggs, and dairy from grass-fed cows. Of course you will.
RICOTTA & LEMON PANCAKES FOR FOUR
1⅓ cups of ricotta. ¾ cup full cream milk.
4 eggs at room temperature, separated. 1 cup wheat-flour, preferably 00.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1 teaspoon lemon zest.
50g butter for cooking.
1. Mix ricotta, milk, egg yolks and zest together. Ricotta lumps need not be mashed out.
2. Sift flour and baking powder into mix.
3. In another dry clean bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Fold into ricotta mix.
4. Using a nonstick pan, melt a teaspoon or so of the butter until sizzling and cook a few pancakes at a time. Flip very carefully, once golden on underside.
I love these with berry compote for extra sourness, plus some thick cream or yoghurt. Eat immediately because their puffiness diminishes once cool. MORE PANCAKE INSPIRATION
Tall and fluffy buttermilk pancakes from Deb Perelman is the second-best, fat-pancake recipe around. Do yourself a favour – she never puts a foot wrong.