Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

I am finally getting around to attempting some Christmas baking. Matthew hasn't been nearly as helpful as in years past (he's been more interested in eating rather than baking) and this has definitely contributed to my lazy attitude towards baking. I finally had the chance to sit down this week (with Matthew) and plan out our schedule. This weekend, we have knocked out four types of cookies and are giving out gifts beginning on Tuesday this week. It will be so nice to have those projects out of the way - hopefully even before we get our tree up!

Planning our Christmas baking list. Or rather, waiting for Mom to finish planning.

The first batch of cookies being made!

Playing in the laundry baskets is much more fun than baking. 
But first, let's talk about these gorgeous, delicious, light-as-air Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. On a whim, I decided to make these for breakfast today and Paul nearly barfed when he saw me pull out the tub of ricotta. He hates ricotta with every fiber of his being. However, he was a fairly good sport and willingly took a serving of pancakes once they were ready.

These pancakes are bound together with milk, ricotta, a touch of butter, very little flour, egg yolks, and lots of egg whites whipped to stiff perfection. Lemon zest and fresh-squeezed lemon juice add a wonderful aroma to the batter. The pancakes rose so high while cooking on our griddle and we were all enticed by the lemony aroma.

The pancakes were heavenly. Absolutely heavenly - and not just because they were so light that they almost seemed to float off our plates. They were light, fluffy, perfectly sweetened, and required only a sprinkling of powdered sugar as a finishing touch. I served them with an apple-cranberry compote, but they really did not need anything. The entire family loved them - especially Paul the ricotta hater! The ricotta cheese just melted into the batter and added to the light texture of the cakes - it was not detectable in the dry, sometimes "pebbly" form that Paul really abhors. We will be making these again for sure!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
from Cook's Illustrated

2/3 cups (3 1/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (1 cup) whole-milk ricotta cheese (may use light ricotta but do not use fat free!)
2 large eggs, separated, plus 2 large whites
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 4 teaspoons juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl and make well in center. Add ricotta, egg yolks, milk, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla and whisk until just combined. Gently stir in melted butter.

Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and whip until glossy, soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer one-third of whipped egg whites to batter and whisk gently until mixture is lightened. Using rubber spatula, gently fold remaining egg whites into batter.

Preheat an electric griddle to 325 degrees. Lightly grease with vegetable oil or butter. Cook pancakes for about 2-3 minutes on the first side. Flip, and continue to cook on the second side for an additional 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately with a dusting of powdered sugar.

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