Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Time is passing fast isn't it?  I'm only 21 and I already notice that every year things seem to speed up. When I got to UNC, I intended to spend an entire calendar year abroad.  I wanted to spend six months in Spain and another six in Italy.  It was going to be a wine and language tour of Europe. It was my goal to fluent in both Spanish and Italian by the time I graduated.  Somehow, I'm now three semesters from graduation and those goals are completely irrelevant.

Here's an announcement:  I'm going to Hong Kong next semester to study abroad.  I'm going to take a dumpling tour of the world.  I will also probably still drink a lot of wine.  When I started at UNC I really thought I would want to spend as much time as possible away from here.  I thought I would be chomping at the bit to get away.  But I'm not. I have slowly gathered a whole life around me - a home that I love, people I love to fill it, and lots of plates and cups on which to feed them.  (This is the definition of a life, right?)

Do you have situations in your life that you try to create over and over?  One of mine is standing at my kitchen stove, back to the table, listening to the roar of my loved ones all around me.  I used to get it a lot but it seems like there’s been a lot of life happening this semester but not quite as much living, do you know what I mean?  Like all my friends are so distracted by our to-do lists that we haven’t looked up at each other in a while. The cold hard truth is that the only way I seem to be able to tempt people away from their required activities if I offer super delicious food items.

People are so busy these days that regular pancakes won’t even do the job.  Instead, I had to up the ante with lemon ricotta pancakes, which, it turns out, actually are way better than regular pancakes. They also keep better in the oven because they are way more moist than normal pancakes.  They actually have a sort of creamy texture.  I made pancakes as people arrived, made the difficult (easy) judgement call that we needed bacon, ran out to get it and came back.

It seems like a fair exchange.  I cook some eggs and brew some coffee and in return, they provide the tangle of voices, cutlery and eye rolls that soothes my soul.  Being in that swirl of chaos makes me feel like the world is a good place again.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

serves 4

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs (seperated)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 sugar
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Stir together ricotta, milk and egg yolks and vanilla extract.  Zest a lemon into a small bowl and add sugar.  Use your fingers to rub together zest and sugar until you can smell lemon strongly. Add vanilla extract and squeeze lemon juice into the mixture.  In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.  Gently stir lemon mixture  and ricotta mixture until large lumps are gone.

In a stand mixer or with a whisk, beat egg whites into stiff peaks.  Fold into batter gently until just combined.

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Melt a few tablespoons of butter and brush over skillet.  When a few drops of water sizzle in the pan, pour 1/3 cup of batter and cook until bubble form in the middle of the pancake.  Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes.  Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven.  Serve with yogurt, fruit, bacon, maple syrup and friendship.