Thick and pillowy, these pancakes are nothing more than ricotta held together with a little flour and made light with folded egg white. Cooked in a cast iron pan, their edged blacken slightly and the caramelized exterior is an appetizing foil for the soft sweet interior flecked with orange zest and raspberries. Choose a good quality whole milk ricotta here. Calabro is a standby, but for a treat I opt for Vermon’s Maplebrook Farm. Any leftover can be eaten with a drizzle of honey and some fruit.
The recipe is adapted from Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries. I reduced the sugar slightly to accommodate a good pouring of maple syrup, but you may want to increase it if you plan to serve the pancakes just with butter or a not-too-sweet jam. The only change I would make next time would be to omit the raspberries from the batter and serve them on top, either fresh or cooked briefly with a little sugar to make a compote. The orange-raspberry flavor is perfect, but the water from the raspberries in this already wet dough makes it hard to achieve an evenly cooked pancake. Makes about 8 pancakes. Serves 2.
For the Pancakes
8 oz whole milk ricotta
2-5 tbsp granulated sugar (I used 2, but Slater calls for 5)
3 eggs separated
The zest of an orange
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter plus more for the pan
½ cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (optional)
In a small bowl, combine the warm melted butter and the orange zest and set aside to steep slightly. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk until stiff peeks form (or use a mixer) and set aside. In a separate medium bowl, combine the ricotta, sugar, the egg yolks, and the orange-butter mixture. Mix well and then gently fold in the flour. Fold the egg whites into the ricotta mixture, being careful not to knock out the air. If you are including the raspberries in the batter, carefully fold them in at this point.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low with 1 tbsp or so of butter. Tilt the pan to coat the bottom with butter and then carefully scoop 1 heaping dinner spoon of batter into the pan. Leave 2 inches or so between the pancakes – most pans will fit 3-4. Allow the pancakes to cook 2 minutes or so until golden brown and caramelized on the bottom and then, using a spatula, quickly flip the pancakes over and continue cooking an additional 2 minutes on the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter adding more butter to the pan as needed. Serve immediately or keep warm, covered with a clean dish towel, in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.