Extra-fluffy with creamy, custard-like middles — ricotta pancakes are something you need to try tout suite! They make an elegant alternative to your usual Saturday morning fare, and are a good excuse for adding ricotta to your shopping list.
Most ricotta pancake recipes have you separate the eggs and whip the whites, folding them into the batter at the end. I did the same, and when I ran my finger around the edge of the bowl and licked off the batter (come on, you do that, too), it almost bubbled in my mouth. It was so airy.
The ricotta keeps the finished pancakes really moist. I also added a little vanilla for flavor, although you could add a teaspoon or two of lemon juice and some zest instead — lemon and ricotta seem to be paired together often! A drizzle of honey or a handful of berries would be great, too.
I have never had pancakes quite as fluffy or luxurious as these. Seriously. Adding ricotta to the batter is truly a genius idea.
The ricotta isn't something you necessarily taste — the pancakes definitely don't taste "cheesy" — but rather, the ricotta adds a magical milky richness and creaminess to each bite. Don't expect these to be quite like regular buttermilk pancakes. They're more custard-like on the insides, reminding me of Dutch babies.
A few changes to the original recipe: I agree with some of the commenters that the original recipe had a slightly eggy character. After doing a quick survey of other ricotta pancake recipes and trying out another batch (poor me!), I decided that 2 eggs worked better here. I also increased the flour to 1 cup — an accident after grabbing the wrong measuring cup for the drawer that I decided to keep! For those of you who loved the original recipe, I've made note of Elizabeth's proportions in the note at the end of the recipe.
Elizabeth also served these pancakes with lemon curd, which sounds heavenly. I only had maple syrup on hand, but I'm not complaining. These pancakes would also be absolutely outstanding with a simple puree of fresh summer fruit or a spoonful of jam spread overtop.
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Butter, for the pan
If your ricotta seems to have a lot of liquid, set it in a fine mesh strainer to drain off excess liquid about 30 minutes before you start cooking. If your ricotta seems fairly dry and compact, you can skip this step.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Combine ricotta, milk, egg yolks, and vanilla in a separate, larger mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the ricotta and milk mixture, stirring gently until just combined.
Beat the egg whites with a handheld electric mixer until stiff (see Recipe Note). Stir a small scoop of the egg whites into the pancake batter to lighten the batter, then fold in the remaining whites with a spatula.
Heat a griddle over medium-high heat. Melt a small bit of butter in the pan, just enough to coat the surface. Use a 1/3-cup measure to pour batter onto the hot griddle. Cook the pancakes for about 3 or 4 minutes, until the undersides are golden and you see a few bubbles popping through the pancakes. Flip the pancakes and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. Repeat with the remaining pancakes.
Serve the pancakes immediately, with maple syrup, fruit jam, lemon curd, or powdered sugar.
In Elizabeth's original recipe, she used 3 large eggs (separated) and just 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour. If you'd like even more custard-y pancakes, try those amounts!
It's easiest to use a handheld mixer to beat this small amount of whites. If you only have a stand mixer, start on low speed and gradually increase to the highest speed as the whites start to form bubbles and thicken. You may need to stop the mixer partway through and stir the whites to make sure they are all getting incorproated.
This recipe has been updated. Originally posted April 2008.