The Secret To Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes

Before I mislead you any further, I’m going to come clean. I don’t know the secret to making lemon-ricotta pancakes. In fact, what I flipped around the griddle on Saturday morning was nothing short of a disaster. Breakfast was saved only by the bacon.

Which leads me to the “secret” I am referring to in the title. Several weeks ago, I was up in San Fran dining with a few friends for brunch. One of my friends was being particularly indecisive. I think he sent the waitress away twice, insisting that he “needed more time.” My stomach grumbled while he wavered between the burger and the pancakes. He finally chose the pancakes, ordering a side of bacon to satisfy his grease craving. He promised the rest of us he would share. 

And share we did. No sooner had the waitress dropped our food had we ordered another plate of bacon for the table. I had ordered the pancakes, too, and I have to say, with the addition of a few strips of crispy bacon, I don’t think I’ve ever been more satisfied with a brunch order. I’m always tempted by dishes such as French toast, waffles and pancakes, but I always worry about missing the greasy, savory egg dishes. A side of bacon, I’ve discovered, is the perfect solution. So, I suppose, all I can share with you today is this: perhaps the secret to enjoying pancakes is to eat them with a little grease?

Now about these pancakes. Several years ago while visiting my sister in NYC, I ordered lemon-ricotta pancakes for brunch at Sarabeth’s in the upper west side. I have been dreaming about them ever since and over the years have saved countless recipes from various newspapers and magazines. After comparing the recipes, including a handful from the blogosphere, I chose this one and set to work.

Now, I don’t want to blame the recipe because I think I’m partly at fault. I have never figured out how to make pancakes. By the time I get my rhythm going and start cooking the pancakes properly, I’ve eaten about 100 and can hardly bear to look at the griddle any longer. That’s precisely what happened this weekend. But even the pancakes that I believe I cooked properly lacked the flavor I remember so fondly. The lemon flavor certainly came through but the ricotta was indiscernible, likely a tribute to the icky ricotta I purchased at my grocery store.

So I wish wish wish I could leave you with an awesome recipe for lemon-ricotta pancakes, but alas I cannot. I am determined to make these again soon, however, and when I do, I hope to report back with more favorable results.
On a side note, imagine my excitement upon seeing this month’s Saveur in my mailbox. Look at this cover! Pure genius. There’s a nice little two-page spread offering detailed instructions for cooking eggs four ways: baked, sunny-side up, soft-boiled and scramble. Might be a good thing to tuck inside a cookbook for future reference. Just a thought.

28. September 2008 by Alexandra Stafford
Categories: Breakfast, Cheese | 30 comments

Comments (30)

  1. Sorry about the pancakes. Let us know if you find the perfect recipe. I love lemon ricotta! I make lemon ricotta cookies and they are my favorite. Maybe I can just call them pancakes and eat them for breakfast:)

  2. I totally agree about the bacon! I always eat french toast and pancakes with a side of bacon. Yum! Sorry your pancakes didn’t work out :(

  3. I’m sorry they didnt turn out but they look wonderful! I’d love ‘em with a little blueberry syrup and that side of bacon.

  4. Ahh, too bad about the pancakes :0( But hey, that photograph of them is the epitome of food porn! :0)

  5. I love pancakes!!!! Yum!

  6. Hmm even if they didn’t taste wonderful, your photos are gorgeous and give Saveur a run for their money!!

  7. Please solve the recipe hunt and keep us posted. You’ve really got me craving lemon ricotta pancakes now.
    I was all set to make your quiche with tortilla crust for dinner, but…my kids had a field trip to a chicken farm. I don’t think I’ll be eating eggs for a few days. What a baby, huh? I’ll be back to old myself and ready for quiche in no time…I hope.

  8. Ummm, now I’m starving! Thank you for this.

  9. I have an award for you on my blog.

  10. Well even though your pancakes didn’t work out, the picture is gorgeous!! Lemon Ricotta sounds so good.

  11. It sure ‘sounded’ promising! I’ve never had them but they sound like something I would order if I saw them on a menu. Breakfast/brunch is my fave time to go out to eat.

    I think bacon makes most things taste better!

  12. everything’s better with bacon, right? maybe you could eat your bacon while you’re making the pancakes and that’d keep you from devouring them as they come off the griddle. :)

  13. Oh, yummy! What a wonderful combination! The ricotta makes the pancakes ever so fluffy……. I love that magazine!



  14. Hope you ll find the mysterious recipe soon since you made me curious what these yummy pancakes taste like. I always make plain ones and top them with my favourite filling. Not too adventurous eh !! :-)

  15. I love Sarabeth’s. Thanks for reminding me!

  16. I also hope you can find the best recipe so you can share it with us! But at least there was bacon!

  17. Bacon is a must with pancakes! Let me know if you crack the lemon ricoota pancake code. I would love to have a good recipe.

  18. The pancakes sound wonderful. When you get the recipe down, do post.

    And who doesn’t love bacon?! God bless bacon.

  19. Aaaah, sorry the pancakes didn’t live up to your memory of them.

    I wonder if part of the appeal of the bacon is that it’s salty… kind of balances the sweet. Or maybe it IS the grease, lol.

  20. Wow those pancakes look heavenly!!

  21. wow these look amazing. my suggestion: add more lemon zest, and buy your ricotta from a small italian market if you have one.

    I don’t really like bacon with my pancakes, but I always wish I had a nice bite of toast to counter the sweetness. weird, i know

  22. Lemon ricotta, huh? Sounds amazing!

  23. Dang, you got me! I thought you knew it and I was so interested! I’ve seen them made too, but never tried -assuming it would be difficult to get just right. When you find a good one, I hope you let us all in on it!

  24. I’m sorry the taste wasn’t what you were after because they look just perfect! And you are so right about the bacon.

  25. There’s an AMAZING recipe for Five Points restaurant’s lemon ricotta pancakes in Marc Meyer’s brunch cookbook. The whole cookbook is pretty great. you have to be gentle with them, and not brown too much. Plus, fresh ricotta (I buy it at the cheese store) definitely makes them better.

  26. I also sometimes add a teaspoon of lemon juice.

  27. Thanks for the suggestion, Maggie. I’m going to have to find that book!

  28. So, I have this half-full container of ricotta from our local co-op sitting in my refrigerator after I used part of it for a vegetarian lasagna dish. What else can I do with this ricotta? I am already starting to imagine it covered with mold before I can find something wonderful to make with it!

  29. Eke — I wish I had some good suggestions for you. It sounds as though you have a nice batch of ricotta on your hands. You could drizzle it with honey and eat it for dessert. Or you could make a thin crust pizza and top it with ricotta and some herbs. oh what else? there must be more!

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