Let’s just get this out of the way: I’m not a breakfast person. As far as I’m concerned, there’s lunch, dinner, and snackies in between. First of all, I usually get up at noon. And when I have to get up earlier, I’m usually late and in too much of a rush to really think about a nutritious meal. And finally, I’ve never really liked stereotypical breakfast foods (I’m looking at you, pancakes and waffles). However, after reading an article in Food & Wine about a hotel that made lemon ricotta pancakes, I found myself undeniably intrigued.
So one morning (ahem… noon), I woke up and found myself in the kitchen before I had even changed out of my pajamas. I retrieved the extra ricotta from last night’s lasagna, as well as a couple apples, and consulted my authority on all things food: Deb. I found the recipe to be a lot more time-consuming than I had expected–again, never been a breakfast person–but the second I took my first bite I realized the necessity of every sauteed apple, every beaten/folded egg white, and every minute on the low-to-medium-heat griddle. They were light (hello egg whites) but simultaneously rich (hello ricotta) and ultimately perfect. Don’t expect me to turn into the type of lady who gets up and makes breakfast every day (you’re lucky if I even have time to brush my hair), but this is definitely a Sunday morning treat you have to try.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
For the sauteed apples
4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
fresh lemon juice to taste
For the pancakes
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/3 cups ricotta
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Melted butter for brushing the griddle
Prepare the sauteed apples:
In a large heavy skillet saute the apples in the butter over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until they are softened, sprinkle them with the sugar and the cinnamon, and cook them over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are tender. Stir in the lemon juice and keep the mixture warm.
Make the pancakes:
In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks, the ricotta, the sugar, and the zest, add the flour, and stir the mixture until it is just combined. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold stiff peaks, whisk about one fourth of them into the ricotta mixture, and fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Heat a griddle over medium-low heat until it is hot enough to make drops of water scatter over its surface and brush it with some of the melted butter. Working in batches, pour the batter onto the griddle by 1/4-cup measures and cook the pancakes for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until they are golden, brushing the griddle with some of the melted butter as necessary. Transfer the pancakes as they are cooked to a heatproof platter and keep them warm in a preheated 200°F oven.
Serve the pancakes with the sauteed apples and syrup.