A sweet Easter breakfast: Meyer Lemon and Ricotta PancakesApril 7, 2007
My husband is a pancake maniac.
This is not really a “problem” per se, but his obsession is starting to affect me. I used to be a salty, eggs-and-bacon kind of breakfast gal. I loved omeletes, eggs benedict, home fries and loads of breakfast meats. Now, though, I find myself craving his delicious and varied pancake offerings… Good old fashioned Aunt Jemima pancakes (a household staple), spicy orange ricotta pancakes, and now zesty and sweet Meyer Lemon and Ricotta Pancakes.
This issue reached its zenith when I was big and pregnant and banned from eating sweets. I could eat as much savory breakfast as I craved… Problem was, I wanted pancakes. So, truth be told, I ate some. But in keeping with the doctor’s orders, I ate them without syrup. That’s right: Plain old pancakes, nothing doing. Just their sweet, pancake-y selves.
Now, despite the fact that I am at last permitted to drown my pancakes in syrup, I find that I’m a pancake purist. I don’t need no stinkin’ syrup. Especially not for these Meyer Lemon and Ricotta Pancakes. They are sweet, citrus-y and delicious. The pancake itself is thick and hearty — not a wimpy, thin flapjack. When you fork through its fragrant, light exterior you might even catch a waft of lemony goodness. And the ricotta in the recipe adds a depth of flavor and richness that will make a pancake lover swoon.
My husband suggests that you make these Meyer Lemon and Ricotta Pancakes for Easter breakfast. Good advice, of course. But frankly these ‘cakes are delicious any time and for any occassion… with or without syrup.
While Easter morning could never compare with Christmas, I likely have almost as many fond childhood memories of it. Easter morning typically began with hunting the eggs made the day before, then a small gift, and finally brunch with my brother and mother. Typically, brunch was pancakes. It was those sort of family moments that began my love affair with pancakes at an early age. I love pancakes. They may be the perfect breakfast.
And these Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are certainly perfect for tomorrow morning. Here in DC at least, it has suddenly turned frigid and our beautiful flowering trees have been covered with snow. At times like these, a reminder of warmer weather is great. Meyer lemons provide that sense of season and a sweetness that is delicious — whether it’s sunshine or snow.
The technique here is very simple. Like other quick breads (e.g. cupcakes or muffins), it’s about the wet and dry ingredients. Combine the wet and dry ingredients separately and then mix them together right before cooking. Be careful not to overstir, as you are going for a light pancake. Making a smooth batter will result in thick, heavy, gluten-filled pancakes that will stick to your ribs and the pit of your stomach. So, be delicate.
Finally, two admissions. First, I have an obsession with meyer lemons. I’ve used them more than any single ingredient on this blog. In fact, I’ve gone so far as to try and convince everyone I know who lives in a subtropical area to plant a tree for me. There is something about their sweetness, fragrance and flavor that has made them an absolute favorite of mine. I’m not ashamed… I just think it was time to admit that my passion for this little fruit is a borderline obsession.
Second, for long-time readers of the blog, you might recognize this recipe as a variation on another pancake recipe I posted last fall — Orange Ricotta Pancakes. That recipe is fantastic as well, but with its spices it speaks more to fall and winter flavors. But if that sounds more up your alley, try that recipe as well!
Meyer Lemon and Ricotta Pancakes
Yield: Ten to twelve 4-inch pancakes
Prep time: 15 min.
Cook time: 20 min.
2 meyer lemons (juice and zest)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
2. Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry. Using a rubber spatula or large spoon, mix until all of the dry stuff is wet and there are no large lumps. Tons of little lumps are great and expected; they should be viewed as a sign of not overmixing. Don’t stir this until it’s smooth; this will result in a chewier, bread-like pancake. Let the batter rest for about 5 min before cooking. Add more milk a tablespoon at a time if the batter becomes too thick.
3. Place a non-stick griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Grease with butter or non-stick spray. Once the surface is hot, pour about a quarter cup of mixture onto the pan.
NOTE: You can tell how hot the griddle is by throwing a few drops of water on the surface. If the water dances — it shimmers and shakes — then it is hot enough. If the water sizzles fast and evaporates quickly, the griddle is too hot. Turn it down and let it cool. If you use butter, it should bubble and then leave a shean on the surface.
4. Cook pancakes about 4 minutes on one side. There are two visual cues to look for when the pancake is ready to flip. First, the amount of darkness on the side facing down. If it is starting to turn to a dark brown, go ahead and flip it. Second, check for bubbles on the side facing up. If you have the right temperature, bubbles will form. When they begin to set and are slow to disappear, the pancake is ready for turning. They should cook about 75% on the first side. Once flipped, cook them for another minute until both sides are brown.
5. Serve them right away, or cover with a towel and place in a warm oven until ready. Top with powdered sugar and pecans and eat with or without syrup. Enjoy!