The weekend is near (not a moment too soon!). Time for relaxing and cooking wonderful things for breakfast. And you don’t have to eat it before noon to consider it breakfast – take it from me.
I really like pancakes. Mike does not. As a food, he sees very little value in them. A lot of people probably feel this way because of countless rubbery, foamy, tasteless and ill-made pancakes that are sadly served everyday in all kinds of places. I don’t like those either. I like lots of flavor and knowing there is some nutritional value in my pancakes so I won’t get a sugar high and want to eat again in an hour.
These orange-ricotta pancakes did the trick, and on top of that, Mike liked them too. Though I wouldn’t force a plain, no-frills buttermilk pancake on him because it’s just not his thing, I think he really objects to crummy pancakes, not pancakes in general.
I’ve never made ricotta pancakes before, and I was surprised that the flavor wasn’t more dominant; rather it leaves only a slight cheesy tang. The real flavor comes from the orange. I used a lot of zest, some juice, and the flavor was unmistakable. The pancakes rely on beaten egg whites for much of their structure—there isn’t much flour in the recipe at all—so they’re all lightness and soft texture. I suspected they could use a little something to make them heartier, so I toasted slivered almonds and underscored that flavor with almond extract in the batter. You could use only vanilla extract so you don’t have to purchase the almond flavoring just for these pancakes. I used whole wheat pastry flour, but you can use all-purpose too.
So, that’s something for you to look forward to this Sunday morning, maybe? Even if you don’t make these pancakes, spend some time enjoying breakfast (I go back and forth, but it may be my favorite meal), and let me know what YOU like to make on relaxed weekend mornings.
Orange-Ricotta Pancakes with Almonds
I used this recipe as a base, but it rather took on a life of its own.
Some recipes recommend draining your ricotta, others don’t. Unless yours is very dry, err on the side of caution and set it over a sieve lined with a couple paper towels for an hour (or do it overnight in the fridge). If you’d rather not bother, I’d guess the pancakes will still turn out fine.
Makes about 8-10 (5-inch) pancakes; may be doubled
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour or AP
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, drained if desired
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest, from one large navel orange
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh juice from same orange
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted, for serving
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk to blend. In another bowl, combine the egg YOLKS only and the remaining wet ingredients and whisk to blend.
Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed until you get stiff peaks.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until just moistened. Fold one-third of the whites into the batter with a spatula, using as few strokes as possible. Fold in the remaining whites in two additions. A few white streaks should still be visible in the batter.
Heat a skillet or griddle to medium or medium-low, depending on how hot your equipment runs, and coat with cooking spray or oil. Ladle about 1/4-cup batter onto cooking surface and spread slightly. Cook until a few bubbles start to form and bottom is golden. Flip and finish cooking the opposite side. Serve with maple syrup and toasted almonds.
Mmmm...food bloggers really like ricotta pancakes:
Ricotta Hotcakes for Tom Brady on Food Blogga
Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples on Smitten Kitchen
Bill Granger's Ricotta Pancakes from Cream Puffs in Venice
Amanda Hesser's Lemon-Ricotta-Hazelnut Pancakes on The Wednesday Chef
Blueberry-Ricotta Pancakes on Culinary in the Country (love the nutmeg and WW flour in those!)