Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Minneapolis is a unique urban environment. Towering steel structures boast clean lines exuding a strength and sleekness that reflect the city’s Nordic roots. Streets are clean and filled with people who embody Midwestern friendliness despite the modern city surroundings. Outdoor sculpture gardens, renowned theaters, and my favorite Irish pub, make Minneapolis a fun place to visit.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Yet beneath the streets of this pristine city lies a dark and unusual place. The walls are red, black ravens hang from the ceiling and the curious art of Ralph Stedman is everywhere you look. A sign by the door explains it all: Hell’s Kitchen. Their motto is “Damn Good Food” which comes from serving real food carefully prepared from scratch. Whenever Mr. B and I find ourselves in Minneapolis we manage to pull ourselves out of bed in time to enjoy breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen (which can be quite a feat after a nightcap at the aforementioned Irish pub). Deciding what to order is always a challenge. Having tried the maple glazed bison sausage, huevos rancheros of the gods, and a wild rice porridge with hazelnuts, we can attest that this place indeed serves d@mn good food. There is one menu item that we can never resist- lemon ricotta hotcakes. Impossibly fluffy, creamy, and bursting with lemon flavor these pancakes are nothing short of heavenly (sorry). For years we’ve exclaimed “We have to make these at home!”

Making Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

When a container of soft ricotta and a box of Meyer lemons met in my fridge the time had come to bring a little bit of hell into our kitchen. I was thrilled to find the original recipe available online. The pancakes require more work than traditional Saturday morning recipes. You whip egg whites into stiff peaks, then slowly fold egg yolks, butter, and the remaining ingredients into the batter a bit at a time. However the finished result is well worth the extra effort. Towering stacks of lemony cakes boast a unique spongy texture due to the addition of ricotta. A dusting of powdered sugar and a scattering of fresh fruit tops off pancakes so good you may even decide to serve them for dinner instead of breakfast. One forkful and you’ll agree- this is d@mn good food.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (Printable Recipe)
Makes 16 cakes
Note: Allow 4 hours or up to 3 days for the batter to chill in the fridge before making the pancakes. This will firm up the butter and keep the pancakes from spreading out too much in the pan.
6 egg whites
9 egg yolks
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
4 Tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (Use Meyer or regular lemons)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Unsalted butter, melted (for the skillet)
Fresh berries
Warm maple syrup
Powdered sugar
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment, pour egg whites into a stainless steel bowl. Whisk the whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks. Once peaks are formed, reduce the speed to low.
Add the egg yolks one at a time to the whites, beating after each addition. Then slowly add 1/3 cup melted butter. Continue to whisk on low speed until the ingredients are well combined.
Turn off the mixer and add the sugar, ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Whisk for 1 minute at medium speed, then reduce the speed to low. Slowly add the flour. Mix to combine the flour for about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to eliminate any remaining dry spots. Mix again at medium speed for about 1 minute until everything is just combined.
Place the batter in the fridge for 4 hours or up to 3 days.
When ready to cook, place a large skillet or griddle over medium high heat. Brush the cooking surface with melted butter and pour the batter into the skillet in 1/4 cup portions. Leave about 2 inches between the batter to allow for spreading. Cook the pancakes until bubbles appear on the surface and the underside is a golden brown, about 5 minutes. (These will take a bit longer to cook than traditional pancakes, so be patient.) Flip the pancakes and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the other side is golden brown. Transfer the pancakes to a warm plate, and repeat until all of the batter is used up.
Garnish the hot pancakes with powdered sugar, fresh berries, melted butter, and warm syrup. Serve immediately.
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