I can’t stand it. How can the party be over ALREADY? Didn’t the vacation just start? A large part of me wants to spend 2016 as Christmas Break me: a lot of cooking and baking, little working out, and no worries about getting kids to school, making school lunches, or the afternoon activity shuttle. I can get behind a year of nothing but pajamas.
For those who are with me on this, I give you the best pancakes ever. Don’t start your resolutions yet. You need to try these fist.
These are extra fluffy, setting up nice and high with the help of ricotta cheese and whipped egg whites. The base recipe lends itself well to additions of fruit and berries. Into the batch I made over the weekend I added thinly sliced applies, laying them over the batter after I scooped them onto the griddle. This recipe makes enough to feed 4 people who love pancakes. Double it if you like leftovers (I think these taste great cold the next day), or if you have anyone in the house like Alexa, who seems to have an extra pancake compartment in her stomach.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 oz. melted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 egg whites
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. Add sugar and stir together.
Whisk together the egg yolks, ricotta cheese, milk, melted butter and vanilla.
Fold the egg yolk mixture gently into the dry ingredients. ***The key to delicate pancakes is in this step. When you mix wet ingredients into flour, it works the gluten in the flour and develops its elasticity. This is desirable in bread making, which is why you knead bread dough so much. Elasticity in pancakes, however, is less appealing, so you want to work the flour as little as possible. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour the egg yolk mixture into the center of the well. Using a rubber spatula, run the spatula around the edge and bottom of 1/4 of the bowl, folding the spatula over the top of the mixture, which pulls the dry ingredients through the wet. Continue this around the bowl. Only fold until the flour is barely incorporated into the wet ingredients. You want to have lumps, otherwise the flour will start to get over-mixed, resulting in tough pancakes.
With a stand mixer, hand mixer, or with a large whisk, whip the egg whites until they reach soft peak.
Carefully scoop the whites onto the pancake batter and gently fold just until it is incorporated in. Folding more than that will not only keep working the gluten in the flour, but will deflate the air you just whipped into the whites.
Preheat a skillet or griddle, then scoop batter (I use an ice cream scoop – it keeps things pretty neat) onto the griddle, cook and enjoy!