There are many things that you can do with a basic pancake recipe to make it a little bit more exciting. You can vary the syrup, using everything from maple syrup to agave to a thickened berry sauce. You can add fruit to the batter, or chocolate chips or even bacon. The options are almost endless, and one of my favorite things to add in is ricotta cheese.
Ricotta cheese adds both lightness and richness to the pancakes, giving them a more tender texture and a slightly richer flavor than plain pancake batter. You can use any variety of ricotta cheese. Low fat and full fat tend to give the best results, but even a fat free ricotta will work well. But ricotta isn’t the only secret to these pancakes. The eggs are separated before going into the batter and the whites are beaten to soft peaks. This adds a lot of air and keeps the pancakes soft and fluffy.
These pancakes are a great way to start the morning and are a nice change of pace from the usual buttermilk pancakes. The best way to serve them is with a little bit of browned butter and a splash (or three) of maple syrup. Fresh fruit also makes a nice finishing touch.
Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs, separated
1 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, melted butter, vanilla extract, ricotta cheese and milk until smooth. Add in flour mixture and whisk until just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks, beating in the sugar as the egg whites become foamy. Fold into ricotta mixture.
Heat a griddle or skillet (nonstick or lightly greased) over medium-high heat until a drop of water placed on the surface skitters around (if it evaporates instantly, reduce heat slightly).
Drop batter in 1/4 cup dollops and cook until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Serve immediately, with butter and maple syrup.