Wednesday, August 22

Ricotta Hotcakes or Tom Brady

I am one of those people who needs 8 hours of sleep to be a functioning member of society. So I boarded my first red-eye from LA to Boston with trepidation. The flight was full but fortunately it seemed everyone had loaded up on melatonin and martinis beforehand; 30 minutes into the peaceful flight, Jeff turned and said, “See, I told you this wouldn’t be so bad.” Then it started.

“So whadda ya think about A-Rod and that new hitting coach for the Yankees?” a voice bellowed behind me.

“It ain’t the new coach that’s helping his hittin'. It’s that new 'hawt' blonde he’s got on the side,” a voice from across the aisle boomed back, followed by a deep guttural laugh that shook my whole seat.

I lifted my cute little JetBlue sleepy-time-eye-mask and peered around to see my neighbors -- exactly as I feared. Two guys sitting across from each other, one with a Red Sox hat too small for his huge head and the other with a Patriots t-shirt. This was the beginning of a 5-1/2 hour deep bonding session between them and the end of my chances to get any sleep.

Fortunately, this being JetBlue, I had a distraction (my sleeping Jeff was no help); I slipped on my free headset and started flipping channels on the mini TV. Of course, I landed on the Food Network and started watching Nigella Lawson. I had never seen her before and was smitten by her tart speech and easy demeanor, which was comforting at 2 AM. Not to mention, her food looked fabulous.

When we returned from our trip, I checked out her book Forever Summer and found her recipes were easy and amazingly delicious. One of my favorites was for ricotta hotcakes.

Ricotta hotcakes look like American pancakes but are substantially different. They're made with whisked egg whites which create a pillowy texture and with ricotta cheese which gives a subtle richness reminiscent of cheesecake. Apparently they are a staple in Australia where the hip Australian chef Bill Granger has almost single-handedly made them de rigeur for brunch.

Though scrumptious plain, they are even better with fresh fruit. Since it’s peak season for stone fruit, I decided to dress mine with some luscious honeyed peaches and nectarines and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.

At least the next time we fly a red-eye, it will be football season. Unless Nigella is on, I might just lean across the aisle and start my own conversation: "So whadda ya think about Tom Brady being the best dressed man alive?" Almost better than hotcakes. Almost.

I am submitting this recipe to Glenna of A Fridge Full of Food, this month’s host for Weekend Breakfast Blogging. She has chosen an excellent theme: ethnic dishes with a twist. This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s cookbook Forever Summer.

Ricotta Hotcakes
Print recipe only here.

Nigella says this recipe makes about 25 hotcakes. That's if you like miniature ones. I made about 12 "American sized" hotcakes.

9 ounces (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp ricotta cheese)
½ cup low fat milk
2 large eggs, separated
¾-1 cup all-purpose flour (add more to make batter thicker if necessary)
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
Canola oil for the cooking the cakes o the griddle

Add ricotta, milk, and egg yolks into a bowl and mix well to combine. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt, and gently whisk to make a smooth batter.

In a glass or metal bowl, whisk egg whites until they become foamy, then fold them into the ricotta mixture.

Heat the oil on a griddle or large frying pan. Pour batter onto the griddle. Cook for about 1 minute until golden, then flip and cook another minute. Keep the cooked hotcakes warm by tenting them with foil on a large warmed plate, while you make the rest.

Serve with honeyed peaches and nectarines below, or with a topping of your choice, such as maple syrup, fresh berries, or wild honey.

Peaches and Nectarines in a Honey Syrup

¾ cup water
1/8 cup good honey
2 Tbsp sugar
A few dashes each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large ripe peach, sliced
1 large rip nectarine, sliced

Combine the water, honey , and sugar in a pot. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add the peaches and nectarines, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for about 6-8 minutes, until fruit is soft but not mushy. The syrup should start to reduce and thicken a bit. Allow to cool slightly before adding to the hotcakes.

When ready, place hotcakes on a plate, layering with cooking fruit and drizzling with more of the honey syrup. Garnish with a couple of slices of ripe but uncooked fruit slices, if desired.

You might also like:
Heuvos Rancheros with Salsa Verde
Nan's Potato, Pepper, and Onion Frittata
Strawberry Rhubarb Sponge Pudding
Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary and Lemon

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Rachel said...

This looks super yummy! Red currants are good in ricotta pancakes as well.

KellytheCulinarian said...

I also need a solid eight hours, but I may be coaxed into appearing human after less hours by a meal like this.

Anonymous said...

Susan, last week when I flew from Richmond to San Francisco, I had a 4 yr old in front of me that keeps trying to poke me when I try to sleep. His mom was oblivious to his bad behavior. That was the longest 4 1/2 hours of flying!
Those pancakes sure looks yummy. I don't have any of Nigella's books but looks like she sure knows how to be a domestic goddess!

Asha said...

Ricotta pancakes "American sized" sounds great! My son loves those tiny silver dollar pancakes every Sunday!:)

Katie Zeller said...

People who can be chipper - or even civil at the crack of dawn should be forced to ride on a different plane!
That side I might stay up (as opposed to get up) to try those hotcakes...esp with the peaches!

Katie Zeller said...

And then there are those of us who can't type - or proofread
It should read "That said, I might...
sorry, bad fingers today!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Yikes -- I would have strapped on a parachute and jumped! I'm way past the hotcakes and on to the peaches in syrup -- I just brought home some peaches I picked from a friend's tree this morning. Perfect!

Wendy said...

Tried these for the first time this summer and was wowed by them. You're right, they are very much a cheesecake texture. My blueberries are ripening just now. Excited about serving them with these hotcakes!

Nupur said...

An Aussie brunch: how fun! I honestly have no idea about typical Australian food, but if all of it looks this good, I should go live there!

Chubbypanda said...

I really like Nigella Lawson. I think Food Network had her in mind when they hired Giada DiLaurentis.

Susan from Food Blogga said... the idea of red currants!

Kelly-I hear ya!

Veronica-Too bad you didn't have a stack of hotcakes to distract you. Or Tom Brady. ;)

Asha-What can I say? My mom always made jumbo pancakes. :)

Katiez-No worries. :) They are worth getting up early for.

Lydia-I couldn't stop eating the peaches right out of the pan!

Wendy-I made them one other time with a mixed berry compote which was lovely.

Nupur-There's a new Australian restaurant here in San Diego that Jeff and I want to try, and they serve ricotta hotcakes!

Chubbypanda-Nigella makes it worthwhile to turn on the TV.

bazu said...

I love the look of these pancakes! I could have a different pancake every Sunday for a year and be a very happy person!

Oh, and SO sorry about the freaks behind you on the plane! Red-eyes are always better in theory than in practice, aren't they??

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Susan those look so good and the peaches with honey take them over the top. Beautiful.
I'm always hoping for the uneventful flight at any hour.

Anonymous said...

A lovely post, Susan. For me, my life is one long sleep deprivation experiment. The hotcakes sound delicious--and the peaches and nectarines are a great touch.

sra said...

Here, the flavour of the year is cricket! I barely get to watch TV as The Spouse hogs it - there's some match or the other on all the time! Your pancakes look scrumptious.

Pille said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pille said...

Looks wonderful! We've got a similar, more rustic dish here, called 's├Árnikud'. I need to check out Nigella's and Bill's versions:)
I love Nigella, even if I've never seen any of her cookery shows. I've got three of her books, but Forever Summer is not among them. I've flipped through the book, of course, and that's where I found my raw beetroot salad with dill & mustard seeds recipe:)

Anh said...

Susan, I have cheked out Bill's version - both the recipe and the pancakes at his cafe in Sydney. I have to say that this is just sooooo delicious... And your version is even better with all my fav fruits. :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful treat and a gorgeous combination! Yummy!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Hysterical! You've described the ambiance of most of the flights I take, and most airlines DON'T have the Food Network! You were lucky! But I'd fly anywhere to get a taste of those hotcakes!

Anonymous said...

We have a local restaurant that does a lemon ricotta pancake that is out of this world good.

I like to fluff up the egg whites for pancakes and waffles, and also add a small cup of lemon yogurt to them. The taste is delicious. I could live on them for breakfast.....

drat now I wish I had me some!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Nigella's shows are addictive, Susan, be careful, my friend! :)

I love watching her, even when she cooks something I don't like I feel like eating it! :)

The hot cakes look delish, I should try these soon!

P.S.: And Tom Brady dates a Brazilian girl. Talk about a man with good taste. ;)

Abby said...

Man, those sounds awesome. I love the description of reminiscent to cheesecake (but obviously lighter!) And as for that fruit? I'd like it on my waffles! (They're my fave.)

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

The flight sounds like a nightmare in slow motion. Next time try that melatonin martini.

JANET said...

This is the second hotcake recipe I've noticed this week. We love hotcakes (or pancakes as we call them!), and I imagine we'll try this one out!

Anonymous said...

Oh, yum! These sound perfect for a lighter summer breakfast. And those peaches in honey syrup sound fantastic. I've got a whole bowl of them on my counter, and I know what I'll be doing with them this weekend! Thanks!

Amy said...

Last time I made ricotta pancakes I used a recipe from Everyday Food and there was no leavener. Sadly, they turned out very flat and dense. Your pancakes look fabulous! I'll have to try this recipe.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Bazu-Then you'll love these! Yes, definitely better in theory! ;)

Tanna-Thanks so much!

Terry B-Sleep deprivation is an evil combination of words. ;)

Sra-Well hide the remote on him if you find out that Nigella is on!

Pille-She was a joy to watch!

Anh-Aw, thanks so much!

Rosa-They are yummy!

TW-Take Jetblue!

Kate-I wish I had me some of your lemon yogurt ones! :)

Patricia-Well if he's dating a Brazilian woman, then they're a pair of hotcakes! :)

Abby-Oooh yeah--on waffles! I hadn't even thought of that since I don't have a waffle iron.


Janet-Really? Then you've got to try them!

Em-They really are, though I might be making them in the fall too with some apples.

Amy-Oh, I hope you do!

Stella said...

YUMMMM!!! You make me don't wanna leave home for work & just eat your hotcakes with my eyes Susan!
It's soooooo irresistible!

J said...

It looks too good to resist! I'm making these pancakes tomorrow! Thanks.

Lisa Johnson said...

Yum! Those hotcakes looks so good! Tom Brady does look pretty good too!

Anonymous said...

I love watching Nigella! And those hotcakes are downright dreamy. I'm sure I'll dream about them until I make a big plate for myself!!!!!

s'kat said...

I just love Nigella, although for whatever odd reason, my husband can't stand her! She makes cooking sound fun and accessible, and I give her bonus points for distracting her from the two loudmouthed arseholes behind you.

The pancakes, indeed, look dreamy!

Mishmash ! said...

Susan, your flight story was quite funny, I know it wasnt for you....:) My prob is I cannot sleep inside the aircraft even if it is a long flight....i cannot sleep a bit even if I am flying to India :( and I envy those people who fall asleep in flights and trains !! the way you described your breakfast was so tempting too :)


Pip said...

I've never heard about ricotta hotcakes (it can be if you live in Italy), but they look really delicious! I should try them instead of regular pancakes one of these days.

Anonymous said...

I was all set to make these ricotta hotcakes this weekend, then I clicked on your other recipes and I want them too! I've never had cake with olive oil in it. It sounds so good. Thanks for all these great recipes!

Unknown said...

I've always found it difficult to sleep on planes - with or without male bonding going on nearby. I usually resort to extraordinary means - like a half a sleeping pill. Otherwise, I become the cranky evil bitch woman upon arrival!

On the other hand, your hotcakes look perfect. Well, let me re-phrase that. They look better than perfect! I am in a peach frenzy at the moment, and I've been thinking about doing some kind of hotcakes recently. You are positively psychic, girl!

Stepmom said...

i'm so glad you discovered nigella lawson! i love her & could watch her show constantly. she's kind of like a british paula deen since she also doesn't always care how much fat the ingredients have. whereas paula loves butter, nigella seems to love cream & the like. this recipe looks so yummy :)

Linda said...

omg this sounds amazing. i'm making it for breakfast tomorrow. i wish i would have seen it earlier today so i could of enjoyed them instead of the boring oatmeal i just finished... lovely post.

Madame K said...

My fear of flying would be much reduced if I could watch Food TV! We don't have Jet Blue service here yet.

I love Nigella -- she's a glamorous bombshell, but somehow manages to putter around the kitchen. The pancakes look delicious.

h said...

I'm going to try the Riccota Cakes. Where are you getting these photos? They're great.

Sara said...

You got to watch Food Network on the plane? I am soooo jealous!

SteamyKitchen said...

I think that recipe would make 4 Steamy-sized pancakes. 4 for the breakfast table and 9 for the "oops, that didn't turn out right, I'd better eat it"

Anonymous said...

Yay, go Nigella :D I have been lusting after this cookbook for awhile but gonna have to wait till I try at least 10 recipes from every one of my cookbooks (a pact I made at the beginning of the year to prevent me from overloading the bookshelf!)

These hotcakes (or pikelets, as we call 'em here!) look adorable, and I'm totally lusting after your blushing stone fruit!

Anonymous said...

Sounds delish -- and look at those rosy peaches! I've been a Nigella fan ever since I fell in love with her pistachio macaroons, but I've never seen her show.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Valentina-You could play hookie; I won't tell. ;)

Jyothsna-You'll be glad you did!

Anali-He's a hotcake too! :)

Sher-Don't just dream them, make them! ;)

Skat- My husband thinks she hot. ;)

Shn--I hope you can read without motion sickness at least! Not even a wink all the way to India? Oh, I feel for you.

Pip-Oh, I hope you give them a try!

Brenda-I know--make the hotcakes for breakfast then the cake for dessert. :)

Toni-Tell me about it--I've been buying enough peaches and nectarines for an army!

Candy-Now, if I could only find her regularly from home!

Linda-Seriously. Sometimes I just need an oatmeal break.

Karen-Hope you get JetBlue soon!

Artfulsub-I take all of my own pics.

Sara-Go Jetblue!

Jaden-Oh, next time, I'm making Steamy sized cakes!

Ellie-Aw, come on, one little recipe from Nigella's cookbook won't kill ya. ;)

Christine-Did you say pistachio macaroons? Oh, my!

Anonymous said...

I like to watch Nigella's show because I love the glimpses of her house. Although currently her show is on at the same time as Meet the Press so I haven't seen it in a while.

Ricotta hot cakes sound lovely, especially with peaches and nectarines.

Glenna said...

Yunm! Really lovely! Thanks for sending this in for WBB!

Unknown said...

hey everyone! This is crazy.. I'm online looking for a fresh ricotta cheese recipe and come across this blog for ricotta hotcakes.My name is Bridget and I am the head chef of Bill Grangers restaurant in Sydney Australia and can swear by how good the ricotta hotcakes are!!!!! I make hundreds of them a week. We serve them with organic maple syrup, fresh banana and homemade honeycomb butter and they literally fly out the door. The trick is to really whip your egg whites till there good and stiff and your ricotta needs to be fresh and of top quality, hence why I have decided that to take the ricotta hotcakes to the next culinary level, I want bills restaurants to make our ricotta cheese in house. I cant wait to try it out tomorrow when I get into the kitchen!!!! I will come back in a couple of days and let y'all know how I get on. Gidday from bills xxx

Beth Morey said...

I made these and LOVED 'em. Thanks!

Anne@ flowers tea said...

This looks really delicious and mouth watering. The recipe is just wonderful, perfect combination, thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks -- looking forward to making these soon! I just returned to the US from a year in Australia and miss these guys!