Thick, stacked pancakes with berry compote. For an extra luxurious treat, add fresh cream or yoghurt.
Thick, stacked pancakes with berry compote. For an extra luxurious treat, add fresh cream or yoghurt.
Image: 123RF / Stephanie Frey

Pancakes have a very, very long history – if online sources are to be trusted. Apparently Otzi ‘The Iceman’ – whose corpse has been preserved for over 5 000 years – had pancake remains in his belly. Even if we discount that, we do know that the cunning Greeks and Romans were whipping up pancakes, sweetened with honey, around 2 000 years back. Ever since that time, there’s been rampant pancake joy. But in very recent years, chocolate ganache cronuts, matcha cookies (and even the no-gluten wave) have rendered pancakes less desirable. Compared to the sexier pastries and confections, they seem too stodgy, too blah.

Enter ricotta pancakes – the one recipe which escapes both the stodge and the blah.

In the 90s and early-noughties, everyone was making this. It was peak Australia chef time, and Bill Granger’s ricotta hot-cakes went viral … before things even went viral. Ricotta pancakes were almost as ubiquitous as sun-dried tomatoes by the mid-noughties, and sadly, by then, everyone moved on. Recently, I’ve seen them served here and there, but they simply aren’t the puffy delights I knew and loved.

Making them at home is the only way to understand how utterly fantastic they can be. These ‘hot-cakes’ – in the thick, stacked style of American pancakes – are light, soft, and even elegant.

Bonus? Though the anti-gluten wave can sometimes feel annoying, the truth is that most humans would probably be better off without grains (whether gluten containing or not), particularly refined grains. Thus, a pancake higher on the dairy and egg side, and lower on the empty starch side, is already a better choice. Double-bonus? It’s delicious.

Below, I combine Granger’s recipe with others which add the zest of lemon, but feel free to leave it out. I’m going to assume that you, wise reader, will be using properly free-range eggs, and dairy from grass-fed cows. Of course you will.

RICOTTA & LEMON PANCAKES FOR FOUR

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

1⅓ cups of ricotta    

¾ cup full cream milk

4 eggs at room temperature, separated  

1 cup wheat-flour, preferably 00

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon lemon zest

50g butter for cooking

METHOD:

1. Mix ricotta, milk, egg yolks and zest together. Ricotta lumps need not be mashed out.

2. Sift flour and baking powder into mix.

3. In another dry clean bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Fold into ricotta mix.

4. Using a non-stick pan, melt a teaspoon or so of the butter until sizzling and cook a few pancakes at a time. Flip very carefully, once golden on underside.

TO SERVE:

I love these with berry compote for extra sourness, plus some thick cream or yoghurt. Eat immediately, as their puffiness diminishes once cool.    

MORE PANCAKE INSPIRATION

Tall and fluffy buttermilk pancakes from Deb Perelman is the second-best, fat-pancake recipe around. Do yourself a favour – she never puts a foot wrong. 

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