When I first got married, I was completely obsessed with finding the perfect pancake recipe. I would pore over cooking magazines and tear out the pages with a title that read “the best pancake ever” recipe. I tucked those magazine pages into my bag and took it to work one day for reading material on my break (pre-iPad/iPhone days). It fell out of my bag and a co-worker saw it and just laughed. I think that might have been when I realized that number one, I might be a bit crazy and number two, that I had a serious obsession with pancakes 🙂
Once I felt like I had the basic buttermilk pancake recipe down, I started to play with different ingredients in pancakes. Maple, cinnamon and then of course I found myself turning once again to my favorite ingredient lemon and never looked back. The addition of ricotta and beaten egg whites in this recipe adds moisture with a light and fluffy texture. The ingredients all work so well together, it really makes for the perfect mix of tanginess with a burst of citrus. I request this every year for Mother’s Day, my birthday and I will now be adding it to my Easter brunch menu.
I love to serve these pancakes topped simply alone with freshly sliced strawberries. The pancake itself is so moist and full of flavor, I personally feel that adding maple syrup detracts from the lemon and ricotta flavor. Sometimes though, I will add a dollop of whipped cream.
Before you begin making the pancakes, make sure to read through the recipe first, then as always have your ingredients at room temperature, measured out and ready to go.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg yolks, granulated sugar, ricotta, lemon juice and lemon zest. Do not over mix. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry mixture and stir until just blended. There will be some small lumps.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, or in a bowl using a handheld beater, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the pancake mixture just until blended.
Place a large griddle, or frying pan over medium heat until it’s hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle, and then immediately evaporate. Add about a tablespoon of butter to cover the pan well. Using a ladle, spoon about ¼ cup of the batter for each pancake onto the pan. Cook until small bubbles appear. This takes about 4 minutes.
Don’t rush the process of flipping your pancakes. Trust me, I’ve obsessed for years over pancakes. It’s a slow process but when you’re patient, they turn out so lovely. Using a large spatula, carefully turn the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, about 2 minutes longer.
If you’d like, you can place the pancakes in the oven on an ovenproof platter to keep warm until all the pancakes are done. If you choose to do this, heat your oven to 250º, or the warm setting on your oven. However, do not cover the pancakes or they will get soggy. Repeat with the remaining batter and butter the pan again. The recipe makes about 16 pancakes, each 4 inches. Serve with strawberries or whatever fresh fruit you’d like and a dollop of whipped cream, or pure maple syrup. Enjoy!