Ricotta cheese and beaten egg whites create a light, fluffy batter that will make you crave breakfast anytime.
Our buttermilk pecan ricotta pancakes combines the flavors of vanilla, nutmeg and lemon to create a delicious breakfast that tastes as good as it looks.
Who doesn't love pancakes? If you raised your hand please kindly see yourself out. I'm kidding (only slightly), but pancakes are such an amazing blank canvas that can be flavored using any vast array of ingredients that it can be tailored to almost any palate.
With school being back in session for the fall, your family will appreciate this unique addition to the most important meal of the day.
What Makes Them Unique?
Ricotta cheese is not a very common ingredient in pancakes, but boy is it worth adding. Ricotta means recooked, meaning it's made by heating the whey, the cheese making by-product, from a cooked cheese.
It is used in savory dishes like cannelloni and manicotti, but adding it to our buttermilk pecan ricotta pancakes makes the batter incredibly light.
Nutmeg gives a sweet, spicy flavor and aroma while the lemon zest adds a hint of citrus. You can find nutmeg whole or ground, but grating it from a whole seed will always have a better flavor than commercially ground nutmeg.
What Makes Them So Light?
The trick for fluffy pancakes, waffles or whatever else type of batter you are making, is to separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. We used a hand-mixer to foam the egg whites to soft peaks. The air that's whipped into the egg whites is used as a leavener, helping the pancakes rise while remaining light.
The beaten egg whites are folded into the batter to create pancakes that are light and airy. This same technique is used with sponge cakes and soufflés.
Tools You Will Need:
2 Mixing Bowls
1 Small Bowl
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¾ cups buttermilk
¼ cup milk
1 egg, yolks and whites separated
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons of the butter melted
Add the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and nutmeg to a bowl. Mix ingredients well.
Add the lemon zest and mix well.
In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, milk, egg yolk, lemon juice, melted butter, vanilla extract and mix well.
The rest of the butter will be used to grease the pan before frying the pancakes.
Add the ricotta cheese to the wet ingredients and mix together. There will be a few small lumps of ricotta cheese in the batter but that’s fine.
For the egg whites, use a hand mixer fitted with beaters on medium-low speed until the mixture is frothy. Then increase the speed and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted out of the bowl.
You can throw in a small pinch of sugar to stabilize the egg whites. Set the bowl aside.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined and smooth. There will be lumps and that is okay. Don’t overmix this batter or your pancakes will be tough.
Scoop in ¼ of the egg whites and stir gently.
Fold in the rest of the egg whites while being careful not to overmix. You don’t want to deflate the egg whites and lose the lightness of the batter.
Let the batter rest for 5 minutes in the fridge. This resting period will give time for the gluten, the protein network in the flour, to relax so that the pancake batter will be extra light.
Bring a frying pan to medium heat. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the pan until melted and slightly bubbling.
You can also use canola or vegetable oil. It won’t have the butter flavor, but the pancakes will still be a beautiful golden brown.
Pour in about ¼ cup of batter into the frying pan. At this time, you can sprinkle the toasted pecans onto the uncooked pancakes.
Let the pancake cook until the edges begin to brown and small bubbles form on the top, about 4-6 minutes. You can omit the pecans and use other ingredients like chocolate chips or sprinkles.
Flip the pancake over and cook until golden brown, another 1-3 minutes.
Keep cooked pancakes in an oven at 200 degrees to keep them warm. Top with aluminum foil to keep them from drying out.