Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

I’m not a big breakfast eater. Don’t get me wrong, I do eat breakfast. But these days it’s usually a bagel at my desk or a scone picked up on my way to work because, frankly, I’d rather have those extra 10 minutes of sleep than a sit-down morning meal. Unsurprisingly, I’m not much of a morning person.

Brunch, I like. Breakfast-type meals, but after a good sleep-in.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes I

Growing up, when I was a bit better about waking up in time to eat before leaving the house — partly because it was trickier to eat and walk to school at the same time — I had the strange habit of preferring to eat leftovers for breakfast. Pasta and tomato sauce? Yes, please. Mashed potatoes with gravy? Warm and filling. Cold pizza? Breakfast of champions — after all, it does have several major food groups.

My parents thought it was amusing. Except for the day I wanted to make fish sticks for breakfast; my mom drew the line at that. But sometimes I do want a real breakfast. At home. In my pyjamas.

What I don’t want, though, is a basic pancake.

My Internet travels provided a solution, as I came across a recipe for lemon ricotta pancakes — an intriguing idea. And what a pleasant surprise this recipe turned out to be. Not only did they combine my love of all things lemon, but they were light, like flat baby souffles, with golden edges and a hint of salt from the melted butter they were fried in.

I shamelessly scarfed a bunch down as, ahem, quality control before handing a plate to a friend I had staying with me. In my defence, I had made them quite tiny.

So fluffy and weightless, so bright with their lemon flavour. I couldn’t get enough.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes II

But this recipe wasn’t without its foibles. Confusingly, the tubs of ricotta are measured in grams and not millilitres or cups. I did some math and the 250-gram tub was a little more than one cup.

I wasn’t going to hang on to a tablespoon or two of ricotta cheese, so I just dumped the whole thing in. Surely, I figured, it wasn’t going to do much harm. And it didn’t. Plus, it’s one of my huge pet peeves to have a recipe that calls for almost an entire can/jar/tub or something, leaving us cooks with random leftover ingredients.

Also, I couldn’t be bothered to zest the lemon onto something just to put it in a measuring spoon and then add it the mixture, so I just zested one lemon straight into the egg yolks. I might be tempted to try the zest of two lemons next time, but only because I love that flavour and feel there’s no such thing as too much lemon.

Lastly, the original recipe I found for this suggested mixing raspberry jam with maple syrup as a topping.

But I wanted something that was going to complement the light lemon flavour of the pancakes, rather than weighing it down. Just before I got started, I diced up about two cups of strawberries, sprinkled on some sugar and let them sit to macerate while I got down to business.

It was the perfect pairing. The slightly sweetened berries added the right touch of fruit, but still let the pancakes shine.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes III

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

This recipe is adapted from the Alberta Egg Producers.

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tub (250 grams) or 1 cup (250 ml) ricotta cheese
  • 3 tbsp (50 ml) sugar
  • ½cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp (25 ml) butter
  • 2 cups (500 ml) strawberries, diced
  • sugar to taste

In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks, ricotta cheese, sugar, flour and lemon zest.

In another bowl, whip egg whites with a mixer until glossy peaks form. Stir about one-quarter of the whites into the ricotta mixture, then fold in the remaining whites gently.

Melt butter in pan over medium heat, drop batter on using small ladle or large spoon. I used a ¼-cup (50-ml) measure.) Flatten slightly, then let cook for about two minutes per side until lightly browned. Top with macerated strawberries.

This story first appeared in the Real Life section in the Calgary Herald. For more delicious recipes, visit CalgaryHerald.com/life.

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  1. ha-i feel similarly about breakfast-i loooove breakfast foods, but am absolutely not an early morning person. i’m much happier when my fiance gets up a little earlier and makes me a fried egg/caramelized onion sandwich!

    lemon-ricotta ANYTHING sounds divine. looking forward to trying these.

    1. Oh goodness, I didn’t even think of that. Duh. Must get better at timing my posts. : )
      Still, as you say, these would be good any time!

  2. I love ricotta pancakes, and I think it’s an inspired idea to add lemon zest! Gives the pancakes such a pretty yellow hue as well. :)

  3. AH- a perfect use for the freshly made ricotta in my fridge! Lemon ricotta pancakes seem like spring to me – although I can’t honestly remember the last time I made them…
    As for the sleeping in part-ah, those were the good old days…

  4. These sound delicious-the lemon and strawberry combination is so refreshing! Why is it that everything always looks cuter when it’s in miniature form? ;)

  5. Raspberry jam and maple syrup? Euw! Raspberry jam heated with a bit of Chambord and a pat or two of butter maybe. I’m going to be trying that over nearly flourless (3 Tbsp) chocolate cake that I want to try. Or I have some fresh pineapple, Meyer lemons and ginger to make something marmalade-y and Gran Marnier to spark it up, but I think that would go best on those luscious pancakes.

    Love your stuff. Please post more often. LOL, when life allows.

  6. In case anyone is wondering like I was.. this recipe yields about 16 1/4c. pancakes.
    Delicious, light, fluffy, soft.. the inside is really moist. Friends loved them and said “note to selves: when invited to pteri’s house, always go!”

  7. I am so glad that I was referred to you this morning. I made these pancakes as soon as I saw the recipe. With strawberries, just as you recommend. They were a hit! Really wonderful. Like little souffles of lemony love. Not one was left by my 5-year olds. They asked for more after each had have four or five!

    Thank you for our lovely brunch treat.

  8. Hi! Made these today but changed it up a bit because I didn’t have lemon. I added some cinnamon and a tbs of vanilla. Also put 2.5 tbs of sugar and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup of white flour. There were fluffy and very delicious.

  9. These were so good, my girlfriend requested them twice this week. I dropped a couple blueberries in each cake while it cooked. We dusted them with a little powdered sugar, and raspberry lemon preserves. Perfect. Consider your site bookmarked.

  10. I used to make ricotta panackes all the time, I loved having the extra protein in my breakfast and offsetting the carbo-rush. Then I discovered Greek yogurt. Much higher in protein and just as good.

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