Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Looking for the equation to perfect mothering skills? I've added, subtracted and simplified it down to a solution manageable for even the most challenged parent: making pancakes.
Think about it though, doesn't one of your fondest memories of growing up involve pulling up a chair next to the stove (in my case, a wood burning one) and watching your mother pour batter into silver dollar circles into the waiting cast iron pan? If you never had a mother who made you pancakes, be they crèpes, blinis, flapjacks, drop scones, pannenkoeken, or hotcakes, depending on your background, may I respectfully say that you missed out on a ritual that transcends class and generational borders and offer my sympathies.
It's a wonder that some thing so seemingly ordinary as pancakes can hold such a stack of pleasure and bring back memories as sweet as the maple syrup that doused them. In our home, just the simple familiar act of cracking eggs and sifting flour speaks of a tranquil morning, un-rushed, no where to head off to, just our family together without a care in the world.
I probably don't need to mention that Noah absolutely adores pancakes and that was a major factor in my motherhood equation. There is nothing more satisfying than watching your two-year-old load up his fork with not just two or three cut-up pieces of pancake, but five or six before cramming it into his mouth, completely focused on consuming these heavenly pancakes as fast as they come out of the pan.
This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Fabulous Fairholme: Breakfasts and Brunches that is a collection of recipes from the award-winning Fairholme Manor Inn in Victoria, British Columbia. It is by far my favorite pancake; soufflé-like in it's feather lightness, perfumed by bold citrus zest, and sweet enough to be eaten on it's own with nothing but a dusting of powdered sugar or dollop of yogurt.
The world would be a much better place if all those troubled people could sit down to a plate of these pancakes on Sunday morning. Forget therapy and shrinks, we need more pancake chefs out there! Do your part and make some one you love some hot pancakes today, ideally your kids, no matter how old they are. They will remember it and thank you for it.
I know mine will.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
5 eggs, separated
Zest of large lemon or orange
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
Dash of salt
Preheat griddle or skillet on medium heat.
Mix the egg yolks. Sift and mix the dry ingredients and combine with egg yolks, lemon zest, milk and ricotta cheese.
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold into the egg-ricotta batter.
Lightly oil griddle and pour a pancake-sized amount onto griddle. Cook until bubbles form. Flip and cook other side until golden. Do not flatten after flipping and only flip once.
Serve immediately with garnish of choice. I found maple syrup to be a bit overpowering for the delicate pancakes. Try with crème fraîche, plain yogurt or whipping cream.