After making French toast challah and some variation on an egg scramble for brunch for the last few weekends, and after finding some ricotta leftover from making a blood orange ricotta cake, I decided to try this recipe for lemon ricotta pancakes. We’re usually always whole wheat pancake types of people, but the preface for this recipe claimed that these would result in very fluffy pancakes, or more elegantly put, “ricotta cheese lends a delicate, airy texture.” They turned out so fluffy and just melted in our mouths. Plus they were mini sized so it felt fine to eat them all!
3 cups blackberries (or raspberries)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
7 oz ricotta cheese (or 15 oz – I halved the ricotta only because I only had 7 oz lying around my fridge, but I’m pretty sure these would turn out better with all 15 oz)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 large eggs, separated
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
canola oil or butter for cooking.
1. Combine the berries and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, sitrring occasionally, just until the berries begin to release some juices, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta, flour, egg *yolks*, sugar, melted butter, lemon zest and vanilla. In another bowl, using a clean whisk or handheld mixer (I use a standing mixer) on high speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Scoop the whites onto the batter, and using the whisk or a spatula, fold them in evenly.
3. Place a griddle over medium heat until hot. Lightly oil the griddle and pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until the other sides are golden, about another minute. Repeat until all the batter is used.
4. Serve with the warm berry compote poured on top.
(Note on servings – the recipe claims it makes enough for 4 servings, but Matt ate them all in one sitting… so if you have a big eater, make sure to scale the recipe accordingly.)
Years ago, I decided it was worth investigating the hype with whole wheat flour for things that I traditionally only made with just regular old white flour.
When I first heard about whole wheat pancakes I was dubious, but after trying it a few times, it really does seem to taste better: richer and more subtly textured than just plain old pancakes. For good measure I also threw in Guittard dark chocolate chips, but you can make them plain, or add blueberries.
You’ll notice my pancakes are on the thinner side, but I promise in a stack they’re delicious. We wish we had a photo of cutting into the stack when the chocolate just oozed out, but unfortunately we were too busy eating to pause for the photo.
1.5 cup milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup of chocolate chips (but add more if you’re a chocolate fan)
butter for greasing the griddle
1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt (or all the dry ingredients) in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and the egg.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix through, leave slightly lumpy. (note: whole wheat flour is very “thirsty” so you may need to add more milk, just adjust and eyeball it as you mix through the wet and dry ingredients.)
4. Preheat a griddle. Once hot, add ladles of batter to the griddle. If using chocolate chips, sprinkle a few on each pancake.
5. Cook for a few minutes, until you start to see little bubbles forming on the surface. Flip the pancakes with a turner and cook for a few minutes on the other side, until you peek underneath and see that the bottom is golden brown.
When I first visited Lisa in Chicago (with Matt of course), I remember being struck by the fact that she made beautiful challah every single Shabbat. I heard stories of how she would lug the dough to work and let it rise at her office, and Matt told me stories of how he loved punching the dough down as a kid. But we’ll save the challah stories for another day for when we actually write about Lisa’s Incredible Challah (which really is quite incredible).
The point is that I was inspired, as I am by all of Lisa’s cooking, to give it a go when Matt and I first started dating. Years later, it’s become a Friday tradition, which means that we always have an entire loaf of bread for only two for the next week. I used to worry that we would have challah leftover by the time the next Shabbat rolled around, but after discovering this recipe, the world in which there is “leftover challah” just sounds surreal.
I found this in a Williams-Sonoma cookbook that Matt gave to me as a Valentine’s Day gift one year (a great gift in that I love to cook and he loves to eat and suggest things to cook). It’s the recipe from Sarabeth’s — that storied New York City brunch place — a place I used to love treating as an “occasion” spot for brunch when I first moved here. And now we get to enjoy similar brunch at home, and plus making it at home means Matt gets a double portion!
This was a great chance to pull out the griddle and use it to make many toasts at once. (I can’t believe I used to make pancakes and blintzes and French toast without one before since it has so vastly simplified the cooking process for all of them!)
The one thing about the recipe is that there are a couple of steps so the dishes can pile up, but I’ve just used out regular dining plates for some of the prep work and then thrown it all into the dishwasher to make for easy clean-up.
Make sure to let the pieces of toast soak in the deliciousness that is the batter for at least one to two minutes for each side so that the toast will be moistened through with all that flavor…
…and when pressing the toasts into the almonds, make sure to press with enough force that the almonds stay on! They add a wonderful crunch to the toast and I think really makes this French toast spectacular.
The original recipe calls for raspberries on the side, but we happen to be on a blueberry streak, so I used blueberries instead.
6 large eggs
1 cup of half-and-half (or soy milk or almond milk, I generally use whatever milk is lying around the house already)
2 tbsp sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
3/4 tsp almond extract (optional – but delicious if you add it)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 thick slices of challah (preferably a day old)
Butter for cooking
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup raspberries (or blueberries, or sliced strawberries, whatever berries strike your fancy)
Pure maple syrup for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready 1 rimmed baking sheet.
In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half (or milk), sugar, orange zest, almonds extract, if using, and vanilla.
Pour the mixture in a plate (easiest if you use a pasta bowl or any dish with a wider bottom and lip on the side) and add the bread, one slice at a time to the egg mixture, and turn gently to coat evenly.
Let stand until the bread has soaked up some of the egg mixture, about 1-2 minutes.
Place a griddle over medium heat until hot. Lightly oil the griddle and the baking sheet (or just put foil down, which is what I do to save some cleaning hassle).
Spread the almonds on a separate plate. One piece at a time, take the bread from the egg mixture, letting the excess liquid drip back into the plate.
Dip one side of the bread into the almonds pressing gently to help the nuts stick. Repeat with all the remaining bread slices.
Place the bread slices on the griddle, almond side down, and cook until the nuts begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes more.
Transfer to the baking sheet, almond side down, and bake until the center of the bread is heated through but still moist, about 10 minutes.
Serve the French toast immediately out of the oven, throw some blueberries on top and slather in good quality maple syrup.
Serves 2 very hungry people, or 4 normal servings.