|Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Maple Raspberry Syrup|
Later on today I will be having a delicious Easter dinner with friends, but a lovely brunch here at home sounds right up my alley to start the day off right. I decided upon some healthy and light lemon ricotta pancakes with a raspberry syrup. There is just something about the tang of lemon and raspberries that just marry so well together. Lemons inspire visions of little children and their sunny faces selling lemonade at their roadside stands. What a great way to start the day the day with memories of the summer months to come and a huge smile on your face!!!!! The world is in bloom right now and the days are longer so all is right with the world.
These pancakes are made with ricotta. If you mention ricotta cheese the first thing to come to my mind is probably a classic Italian lasagna. Ricotta lightens the texture of a lasagna just as it lightens pancakes and adds a creaminess that is unparalleled. It is very versatile and works well in many desserts as well as savoury dishes. It is traditionally made from the whey drained from such cheeses as mozzarella, provolone, and other cheeses so if we want to be technical ricotta is not a cheese at all, but a cheese by-product. Its name, ricotta, means "cooked again" ....and I will cook with ricotta over and over again!!! Of course you can make your own ricotta with milk quite easily. It is ridiculously easy and requires very little skill on my part, but on Tuesdays our local Italian market brings it in fresh because I just don't take the time. I picked some up this week so need to use it NOW...so what better way than to have an indulgent treat on Easter morning. This ricotta is a little thicker and cheesier trhan what we find in the containers around here, but the batter for these pancakes is quite thick.
Ricotta is a fresh, soft, snowy white cheese with a rich but mild, slightly sweet flavour. The texture is much like a grainy, thick sour cream which makes it perfect as an addition to many dishes. Ricotta is naturally low in fat, with a fat content ranging from 4 to 10 percent. It is also low in salt, even lower than cottage cheese. Ricotta cheese is also a good source of calcium. One-half cup provides 42% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium. This knowledge makes these ricotta pancakes perfect in my eyes.
For the sauce I used raspberries. They are not in season right now but the price at the grocers was too hard to resist. You could also use strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or anything else you have on hand. You could also use frozen. Serve these pancakes topped with a few berries or with a side of Canadian back bacon for a heartier breakfast. I just loved everything about this brunch!!!!
**Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Maple Raspberry Syrup**
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese
2/3 cup milk
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Butter, for griddle
Preheat a nonstick griddle.
Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk together the cheese, eggs, milk, lemon juice and zest in a large bowl. Whisk the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Brush the hot griddle with butter. For each pancake, pour approximately 1/4 cup measure of the batter on the griddle and cook on both sides until light golden brown. Repeat until no batter remains.
Maple Raspberry Syrup
1 cup (250 mL) orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons (30 mL) orange zest, grated
1 cup (250 mL) pure maple syrup
2/3 cup (150 mL) raspberries
Combine orange juice and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 8 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup (125 mL). Add orange zest amd maple syrup and stir. Add raspberries and mash gently to release juices. Strain syrup through a fine-mesh sieve. I also mashed the raspberries in the sieve to have some of the pulp in my syrup as well.
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