A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater: May's Orange & Ricotta Pancakes

May 28, 2009 · 8 comments

in breakfast/brunch,nigel slater

I’ve been busting out all kinds of small appliances lately, thanks in large part to the lack of an oven–waffle iron, toaster oven, griddle. When it came time to make this month’s Nigel Slater recipe, I didn’t know if I’d have an oven to work with, so I had to pick something that didn’t require one.  

These orange-ricotta pancakes were calling to me for many reasons. First, it’s incredibly rare for me to make pancakes. Second, even though you know I love to have many, many cheeses in the fridge at all times, ricotta is not typically one of them. Finally–and possibly most importantly–brinner (breakfast for dinner) is one of the best things ever, and I just don’t make it enough. This even gave me a chance to bust out my griddle.  

But for the record, I’m happy to report that our range is now fully functional after a very, very long 7 weeks. I don’t even like baking, and I am dying to make a cake. 

Back to the recipe. As I have done with every recipe from that sugar- and butter-loving Nigel Slater, I’ve lightened these up a bit. I used half whole wheat flour, lowfat ricotta, and reduced the sugar by half (but added a little vanilla extract for added sweetness).

Nigel mentioned in the book that if he had blueberries at the time, he would have made a compote of sorts to top the pancakes. What called to me at the market, though, were some blackberries that looked delicious. So, I decided to use them as a topping to the pancakes.  And, since I was zesting an orange, I figured I might as well put its juice to some use, so I added it to the blackberries.

The result was a fluffy, delicious pancake with a nice hint of orange. If you like sweeter pancakes, you’ll want to add more sugar, but combined with the blackberries and a little drizzle of pure maple syrup at the end, these were sweet enough for me. 

TANGENT ALERT: Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different picture taking options–natural light (but not a whole lot since it’s been overcast and we eat late), daylight bulbs, the white balance setting, vivid vs. regular exposure, etc. I have come to one very important conclusion:

I apparently suck at taking pictures.

If it’s lighted properly, it’s not sharp enough. If it’s at a good angle, it’s grainy. (I’ve also come to the conclusion that I cannot hold my husband’s teeny weeny camera without my hands shaking, resulting in blurriness and probably the aforementioned graininess, too.)   I suppose having a blog that focuses more on dinners than it does on dessert doesn’t help the situation. I don’t want to sit around taking pictures while my food gets cold. I want to eat already! So, you’ll just have to bear with me and maybe at some point I will figure out how to deliver some food porn to you like many of my favorite blogs do.



Orange & Ricotta Pancakes

Serves 2
Adapted from: Nigel Slater

zest from one large orange
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup lowfat ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2.5 Tbsp. superfine sugar (or granulated sugar spun around a food processor a few times)
3 eggs, separated
1 Tbsp. butter 

Lightly combine the zest and the flours in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix together the ricotta, vanilla, sugar, and egg yolks until combined.  Gently mix the flour mixture into the ricotta mixture.

In yet another bowl, beat the egg whites with a balloon whisk until stiff peaks are formed. Fold the egg whites into the ricotta mixture (I did this in 3 additions). 

Heat a nonstick pan or a griddle over medium heat, and add the butter to melt. Spoon out pancake batter onto the hot griddle and cook until you see bubbles forming around the edges/top. Flip the pancakes and cook the other side until golden brown.

To make the blackberry compote, I just put about 2 cups of fresh blackberries in a saucepan with 3T or so juice from the orange. Add a little sugar to taste, and a cinnamon stick. My blackberries were quite sweet, so I actually only added about a teaspoon. Heat until most of the juice has evaporated, and then turn to low and continue cooking until the blackberries have lost their shape and given up their juices.

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