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Ricotta-Lemon Pancakes

Light and delicate, these pancakes are moist, rich and lemony on the inside and have a crisp, browned exterior. The texture comes from using lightly beaten egg whites instead of butter, and the calories are reduced by using part-skim ricotta cheese. When you open the ricotta cheese container, pour off any liquid sitting on the top. If desired, serve the pancakes with maple syrup in place of the confectioners’ sugar and fresh berries.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (see note above)  
  • 1/4 cup 1-percent-fat milk 
  • 3 eggs, separated 
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar 
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 Tbs. grated lemon zest 
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt 
  • Pinch of cream of tartar 
  • 4 cups mixed berries such as whole blueberries and raspberries and trimmed and sliced strawberries 
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar  

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 250°F.

Place the ricotta in a large bowl. Add the milk, egg yolks and granulated sugar and whisk together until blended. Add the flour, lemon zest and salt and, using a rubber spatula, fold just until blended.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar and, using a whisk or a handheld electric mixer set on medium speed, beat until soft peaks form. Using the rubber spatula, carefully fold the beaten whites into the ricotta mixture just until blended.

In a bowl, combine the berries and lemon juice and stir gently to blend. Set aside.

Place a large nonstick griddle or fry pan with low sloping sides over medium heat until hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle and then immediately evaporate. Brush the surface with a thin film of canola oil. For each pancake, ladle a scant 1/3 cup batter onto the hot surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pancakes and the bottoms are lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully turn and cook until the other sides are lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to an ovenproof platter and place in the oven to keep warm; do not cover the pancakes, or they will get soggy. Repeat with the remaining batter. You will have enough batter to make 12 pancakes, each about 3 inches in diameter.

Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the warm pancakes with confectioners’ sugar to taste. Serve immediately with the berries on the side. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).