I don’t know how it happened, but we find ourselves in the last breaths of 2016. This year’s slipped by in a haze of recipes, memories, friendship, and the occasional bout of back pain. My months can’t mark themselves by anything more distinctive than a feeling—for instance, May reminds me of rolling on the floor with a lower back spasm, July’s abs hurt from laughing too loudly, and October, well . . . I can only assume I’ll find October hiding under the couch after watching Hocus Pocus more times than strictly necessary and eating enough candy corn to remind myself why I don’t like candy corn. Sometimes the world moves so quickly that I can’t catch my breath. And when that happens, I force myself to slow down and sit for a minute. I’ll watch the sky moving slowly, pet the dog until her eyes roll back a little, look at pictures from my youth without noticing how much older everyone’s grown. I’ll listen to Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” and marvel at how clichés really do come true. Luckily, I do all my best sitting at the breakfast table.
These ricotta pancakes? They’re the edible version of those feelings. When I eat these, I’m forced into my body and away from my doubts, a perfect moment for savoring the joy of each bite. The warm berry compote, with its nutty and tangy flavors, complements each fluffy iota of pancake. The cakes themselves aren’t too sweet but boast a rich texture that elevates them from something humble to something transcendent. Can a pancake hold that much gravitas? Maybe. Or maybe I’ve just had too many pancakes.
Or maybe this is the sort of breakfast for mornings when the world’s determined to pass you by, when you couldn’t catch the train or your breath even if they slowed down for a second. I’m mixing metaphors, dear readers, but don’t over-mix the batter. Make these cakes for a slow day, sit where you like, and remember to breathe through this moment, the next, this year, all time. Remember that it’s ok to be still and to wait for something, something better.
Something like breakfast.
- 1 ½ cup of mixed berries (these can be frozen)
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of one orange
- Juice of one orange
- In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and stir slowly. Heat over
- medium heat until mixture reaches a simmer. Turn the heat to low, and let the
- compote simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Keep warm,
- and serve over ricotta pancakes or dish of choice.
- 1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of flour, minus 3 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- ½ cup of half and half
- zest of one lemon
- butter for the skillet
- In a large bowl, gently mix the egg yolks with the ricotta cheese until combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the ricotta mixture, then half of the half & half. Keep adding and slowly mixing by hand until all ingredients are combined, beginning and ending on dry.
- In another bowl, using a wire whisk, vigorously whisk the egg whites until they have started to foam. This will take about a minute.
- Gently fold in the egg whites and the lemon zest into the pancake batter until well combined.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and when hot, melt a small pat of butter on the skillet. Pour about ¼ cup of batter onto the skillet for each pancake. Cook for approximately 1-2 minutes, or until the bubbles that rise to the top of the batter on the pancake have popped.
- Flip the pancake and cook for an additional minute. Keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven at 200 degrees until all have been cooked. Serve immediately.