Recipe: Fluffy Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

Weekends were made for pancakes! 
What a beautiful thing to wake up to! This dish always reminds me of spring or the start of summer. It feels like you're enjoying every bit of sunlight in a cottage with fresh flowers blooming. The sweetness and tanginess of the lemons and the blueberries greatly compliments the richness of the ricotta in the pancakes. Just a wonderful and delightful treat to start off any weekend.

The first time I had these ricotta pancakes, I had it at a brunch place here in Toronto. I loved how flavourful the pancakes were, they were thick and dense and yet they had this spongy and fluffy quality to it as well. They were basically ricotta pancakes with a blueberry compote - no berries inside the actual pancake. But then I thought that I wanted to have a hint of lemon to it (just because I really wanted lemon pancakes too). So I decided they should get married and tadaaaa! Lemon and blueberries together 😁 I really wanted to cheer up weekend breakfasts and the lemon did exactly that. It's fresh, tangy, and sweet. Just the right medley you need to brighten our quarantining days.

My husband isn't a fan of berries AT ALL so I set aside some lemon-ricotta batter for him. Instead of blueberries, I added Maltesers for him (yes, the chocolate wrapped malt balls, conveniently sized as blueberries too). Just an idea 😉 You can use chocolate chips, raspberries, toffee bits, and even raisins (yuck, I hate raisins but if it makes you happy, go ahead!). Topping it off with the fresh lemon zest just seals the deal. And make sure you get a good helping of real Canadian maple syrup!

I've always enjoyed recipes with ricotta. Ricotta is a fresh cheese that's light and milky in taste. It originated from Italy and it literally means "re-cooked". It could be made from any dairy source: cow, sheep, goat, or even buffalo. Since it's re-cooked, it's basically the whey cooked again. This then gives it they grainy and curdled texture. The cooled curds are now the fresh ricotta cheese. And yes, technically you can make your own at home. I just like supporting our local Italian deli here in our hood - they make it fresh daily! This cheese just give the pancakes such a milky flavour with a such depth and denseness. Don't worry, the baking soda and powder will help this pancake be fluffy. 

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Fluffy Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes
This makes about 8-9 medium pancakes or about 12-14 mini pancakes. I wouldn't recommend making them the usual large pancakes. These are definitely thicker and denser than your usual pancakes because of the ricotta cheese. But the baking soda and powder help in leavening, as well as the beaten egg white. 

You'll need a sifter/strainer, 1 large bowl, 2 small bowls, a griddle or a skillet, a turner (or an omelet/pancake spatula), a whisk, a zester/microplane (if none, use a grater just don't press down too heavily), and a hand mixer.

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese (store-bought tubs are fine)
2-3 tsp lemon (usually the zest from 1 lemon)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 egg white, room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 cup fresh blueberries, washed and dried

For serving (any and all are optional):
softened butter, unsalted
maple syrup
whipped cream
additional lemon zest

Procedure
1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and sift together. Whisk to mix well. 
2. In a small bowl, combine all wet ingredients - milk, ricotta cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, 1 egg, and 1 egg yolk. Whisk well to have all ingredients well incorporated. Make sure there are no more lumps from the ricotta cheese. 
3. In the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Whisk gently to incorporate ingredients. Do not over-mix. Set aside the batter to let it rest. 
 
4. In another bowl, beat the egg white until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat egg white but ensure to keep at soft peaks. 
5. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites to the batter until well incorporated. Do not over-mix and deflate the beaten egg whites.
 
6. In a medium-heat griddle, fill a 1/3 cup of batter and mix in some blueberries. Pour serving on the griddle and space out to shape a pancake. Let this cook for 3-4 minutes. (You can also add all the blueberries to the entire batter but I prefer to do this per 1/3 cup serving so the berries don't bleed out blue and affect the whole batter. You can also add the berries after the batter's been poured out on the griddle.) Flip the pancake and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Repeat and cook the rest of the batter.
 
7. Once a pancake is cooked, spread some butter on top so it's nice and shiny. 
 
8. Serve in stacks of 3 and top with softened butter, whipped cream, additional blueberries, maple syrup, and lemon zest. 
9. Enjoy!!!
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*You can dump all the wet ingredients together if you want. I just wanted to create extra leavening with the whipped egg white. Plus, it also create a nice crust.

**Having lemon ricotta pancakes alone is a treat. It's sweet and refreshing. You can serve these as is and leave out the berries altogether. You won't be disappointed. And, you can also smear some Nutella on it. Yummmms.

***BE PATIENT. Do not keep flipping the pancakes. With regular pancake batters, you'll know immediately when you can flip because there are little air pockets popping on the surface. Since this has ricotta in it, the dairy content is much higher. So the pockets won't go crazy bubbling as it normally should - it's basically in heavy-lifting mode for the pockets. So just be patient and let the 3 minutes roll out. I know, it's hard. But you'll reap the rewards soon. 
#donyaluzee #food #recipe #pancakes #pancake #lemon #ricotta #blueberries #weekend #brunch #breakfast #sunday #maplesyrup #fluffy #fluffypancakes

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