Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Today, I discovered my blog has topped 1,000 views since I first brought you Roasted Veggie Pizza. What better way to celebrate the milestone than with breakfast for dinner?

When I was little, breakfast for dinner was one of my favorite treats. Breakfast is my all time favorite meal of the day (probably because you can get away with eating things that usually qualify as dessert first thing in the morning), so getting it twice in once day was always super awesome.

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I would usually beg for pancakes over waffles because my mom, great mom that she is, would pour the batter into any shape my little heart desired. And we’re talking anything from a dog, to an octopus, to people…specific people. You have not lived until your form has been immortalized in pancake batter.

As if my increasingly complex demands on her pouring expertise weren’t enough, she would then have to flip the pancake (usually the size of my face by this point) and cover the entire surface with chocolate chips, pressing the pointy side into the cooked pancake.

Because we never had chocolate chip pancakes in the traditional sense at my house. Stick with this blog long enough and you will see the Smith family does not do anything in the “traditional sense”. Instead of chocolate chips inside the pancakes, my pancakes were delivered to me gleaming with melted chocolate. I would carefully spread it all over the top of my pancake and, if I was feeling the urge, would add a dash of peanut butter to the mix, all forming what was really just a melty, gooey Reese’s mound of oozing deliciousness on top of the fish, or car, or pirate ship I was eating that night.

So it’s really not surprising that now, as a grown adult, living on my own, I have no qualms about making myself pancakes for dinner. My tastes have got a bit more adventurous than they were when I was 5, (although writing the above description made me drool profusely) and I am now open to a wide range of pancakes beyond the chocolate peanut butter.

And thus, it happened that on an oddly warm night in January, I found myself with all the ingredients necessary for these lemon ricotta pancakes. And let me tell you, they are the lightest and fluffiest, most delightfully zesty cakes I have ever eaten. For those of you skeptical about the joys of breakfast for dinner, embrace the five year old inside you and just give it a try. Trust me, it’s much more fun to mix pancake batter when you’re already awake than attempt to crack eggs while bleary-eyed first thing in the morning.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Small pinch of cream of tartar
  • Blueberries
  • Maple syrup (optional, but recommended)
  • Powdered sugar (optional, but recommended)

Directions:

1. Place the ricotta, milk, egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together until blended.

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2. Add the flour, lemon zest and lemon juice to the bowl and gently whisk in. Make sure the batter is throughly blended, but try to avoid over mixing as much as you can.

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3. In a separate bowl, add your pinch of cream of tartar to the egg whites. Using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the eggs whites until soft peaks begin to form. The egg whites will increase about 300% in size, so keep that in mind when selecting a bowl for this.

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4. Add the beaten egg whites to the rest of the pancake batter, and again, gently stir together with a whisk, being careful to avoid over mixing.

5. Heat your nonstick griddle or frying pan over medium-low heat (cover with cooking spray if using frying pan) and pour 1/4 cup batter at a time to make your cakes.

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6. Cook until the edges are set, and small bubbles appear in the surface, than flip and continue cooking until both sides are golden brown.

7. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar, scattered with blueberries and drizzled with maple syrup for a dinner (or breakfast) that can’t be beat!

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