Every so often I have fleeting fantasies to quit the entertainment business and open a restaurant. In my mind, my restaurant is very popular and well respected, full of people waiting for tables and raving over the food as they enthusiastically devour forkful after forkful. I would be overseeing it all, checking on the cooks, making rounds, chatting up customers and making sure everyone is happy. It being a fantasy, there are never personality conflicts in the kitchen, no one ever sends food back, dishes are never dropped and glasses never broken and of course it's very profitable. The concept of my imaginary restaurant changes from day to day. Sometimes is a dark, upscale dinner place with a hopping bar and people dressed up celebrating special occasions. Other times, it's very casual place that serves only breakfast and lunch, perhaps with a little market and takeaway section on the side, selling cheeses, salads and other attractively packaged goodies.
Sometimes I even go so far as to think about what would be on the menu. For my breakfast/lunch place it would be modern takes on familiar favorites. Bacon would be glazed with maple syrup. Eggs would be scrambled very slowly with creme fraiche and fresh herbs. And I would serve these pancakes. The recipe is sort of inspired by a couple places in Los Angeles that I love - BLD and Bloom. BLD is run by a chef named Neal Fraser and it actually is just the kind of restaurant I'd love to have and Bloom is a very cute little cafe near our house. Both places serve ricotta pancakes but not exactly like this. BLD's have just ricotta and blueberries and Bloom's have just ricotta and lemon zest. I think the combination of all three really takes it someplace special.
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
unsalted butter (for the griddle or fry pan)
1 pint fresh blueberries
pure maple syrup
zest of 1 lemon
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the milk, ricotta, sugar and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form.
Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until no white streaks remain.
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Heat a nonstick fry pan or griddle over medium to medium low heat for 2 minutes. Add a pat of butter, coating the pan. Ladle in about 1/4 cup of batter making sure to leave enough space between the pancakes. Sprinkle each pancake with a few blueberries.
Cook, depending on the heat, anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes, until small bubbles start to form in the center of the pancakes. Using a very thin spatula, carefully flip the pancakes and continue to cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a sheet pan and place in the oven to keep warm while you continue with the rest of the pancakes. Make sure to wipe the remaining butter and blueberry juice out of the pan with a paper towel folded over several times that has been doused with a little water before proceeding with the next batch of pancakes. Serve the pancakes showered with the lemon zest and accompanied by maple syrup.
These pancakes are very nice. Light and fluffy, just slightly moist in the middle, thanks to the ricotta, which also gives them a slight tang. That tang is balanced by the sweetness of the blueberries (which become soft and jammy) and is enhanced by the bright lemon zest. They're great with some sort of salty meat product, such as sausage or the afore mentioned maple glazed bacon.
Serves 4 (makes about 18 pancakes)