Eat (Sort of) Well: Ricotta Pancakes, Etc

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks mom!
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I am not a huge pancake fan…I never have them when eating out because they sit in my stomach all day like a rock. But early in my marriage I discovered a ricotta pancake recipe on the back of the Precious Ricotta package and I have been making them ever since. They are little clouds that melt in your mouth and are by far my family’s favorite pancakes.
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You can buy the ricotta cheese, of course, but it is really fun to make it yourself, and much tastier, too. It’s a great project to do with your kids. When I taught science at our local elementary school, I incorporated ricotta cheese-making in my 1st grade “matter” unit. We read “Little Miss Muffet” discussed curds and whey, and then added the vinegar to the milk to show how a liquid can turn into a solid through a chemical reaction. The kids loved it! You can use either vinegar or fresh lemon juice to make the cheese.

Ricotta Cheese

8 cups (1/2 gallon) regular milk (or 6 cups milk and 2 cups heavy cream if you want a richer cheese. I used raw milk.
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons good quality white vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Bring milk and salt just to a boil in a large and heavy non-aluminum pot. (Stainless or Le Creuset work great.)
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Turn off the heat and stir in lemon juice or vinegar.
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Allow the mixture to sit for 1-2 minutes or until curds form.
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Pour the mixture into a colander lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth and let it drain into a large bowl or into the sink.
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The longer you let it drain, the thicker the ricotta cheese.
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Makes about a ½ pound ricotta cheese. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate.
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(The cheese will keep 4-5 days.)

Heavenly Ricotta Pancakes
(Precious brand recipe)

1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
3 eggs
½ lb ricotta cheese
2/3 cup milk
½ cup flour

1. Separate eggs and whip egg whites until they make soft peaks.*
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2. Mix all other ingredients together.
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3. Gently fold in whites.
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4. Put 1/4 cup or so of batter onto medium hot greased griddle. Flatten somewhat with a spoon.
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5. Cook until lightly brown and turn once.
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6. Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup, fresh fruit or jam. (I used Smucker’s Michigan tart cherry jam which is AMAZING!!)
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***

P.S. An Egg Tutorial:

Several people have asked me the best way to separate eggs.

The first rule of thumb is to crack the egg on a counter, not on the bowl. If you crack it on the rim of a bowl, there is a greater chance that eggshell will fall into the whites when you separate. Once it is cracked, use your thumbs to open the egg. At this point there are 3 ways to separate the whites from the yolk.

1. Pour the egg into an “egg separator.” I got mine years ago as a prize at a Tupperware party (do people still go to these?) They work great…the egg white falls away from the yolk, which stays in the center cup.

2. Use the “back and forth” method, carefully using the shells to catch the yolk as the whites fall away. The only problem with this method is that if you are not careful, the yolk can break. Once a little yolk has contaminated the whites, they won’t whip as well.

3. Use your hands (make sure they are clean and free of grease). Crack the egg into your hand and let the white drip away from the yolk. Gently transfer the yolk between hands if it doesn’t all drip away.

*Once you have separated the eggs, make sure no pieces of shell are in the whites (nor any of the yolk) and then beat them on high. When beating the whites, keep checking by lifting the mixer blades. If peaks form without folding over, the whites are done. In recipes where you fold beaten egg whites into batter, always beat until soft peaks form, not hard. (This is the same for my chile relleno recipe.) Don’t over beat or the whites become dry and stiff and will be hard to incorporate into the other ingredients.

It’s a good idea to crack each egg and separate into a small bowl and then transfer the whites into your beating bowl. This way if some yolk breaks and drips into the white, you only have to throw away the one egg, not the whole batch.
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And while on the subject of eggs, a reader suggested steaming eggs instead of boiling for hard-cooked eggs and I tried it with great success. The advantage to steamed eggs is that the eggshells peel easily, even if the eggs are fresh. I actually bought a steamer just so I could try this, and now I am hooked! They are delicious, moist, and tender like the un-boiled eggs I shared a couple of weeks ago, but peel easily. (Archer usually won’t eat the egg yolks of hard-boiled eggs, but he ate 5 of these steamed eggs in one sitting, yolk and all!) Here is how to cook them:

Steamed hard-cooked eggs

1. Bring eggs to room temperature, or put in warm water for a few minutes (this will keep them from cracking).

2. Carefully lay eggs in steamer basket in a large steamer with water below and bring to a boil.
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3. Turn down to simmer and steam eggs for about 17-20 minutes (test one egg to make sure they are done). If they are extra large eggs, it might take 20 minutes, but my medium size backyard eggs were perfect at 17.
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4. Run under tap water to cool, and then put in a bowl of cold water. This will keep the green layer from forming around the yolk.

Enjoy!

Love,
WWW

29 comments:

Mama Smith | 3:57 PM

I've made a lot of pancakes and have never ever tried ricotta! These look great- we'll be trying them out this weekend, thanks and always love your recipes.

Red Stethoscope | 4:25 PM

I've never steamed eggs before, but those look really interesting. I'll be trying!

Sally | 4:44 PM

Wendy I wish I was in your science class! These look great, and I love the idea of making my own ricotta. Also, steaming eggs! Who knew you could do that??!?

Anonymous | 6:21 PM

do you drink raw milk, or just cook with it? I'm assuming you know the dangers???

Amanda | 6:28 PM

I can't wait to make the homemade ricotta! My boys love that kind of science project.

Anonymous | 6:40 PM

There's a great local restaurant in Columbus, Ohio called NorthStar that makes ricotta pancakes. They called them Cloud NIne Pancakes. By far the most AMAZING pancakes I've ever had! They use Ohio maple syrup and butter, and banana slices on top. Now I want some. :)

Anonymous | 9:59 PM

I didn't know making ricotta was so easy! It is almost the same as making paneer (which is so fun to do). emily

Jill | 10:29 PM

I live in Zambia and can't find a ricotta cheese that I trust. I've missed out on so many recipes because of no ricotta to only find out today it's so easy to make myself!!

Thanks so much for sharing!!

Anonymous | 12:28 AM

I thought you and your mom and grandma might enjoy this short video:
http://vimeo.com/31733784
I saw it on another blog and the lady reminded me of your mom/ grandma - same awesome!

jd fashion institute | 4:17 AM

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Rebecca | 5:43 AM

I've always wanted to make my own cheese and this looks super easy! Definitely trying this.

Claire | 6:45 AM

I sell Tupperware! Yes people still have Tupperware parties! You can even have online virtual parties! They unfortunately don't sell the egg separator anymore. Wish they did because that looks pretty awesome!!!

Leslie Mahoney | 8:17 AM

Holy smokes! I finally know what that thing I have had in my utensils drawer for years is. It's an egg separator! Now I can use it to make this recipe. Yay!

unfounddoor | 9:00 AM

WWW you are so great!
I am a terrible cook but, now our baby is starting on solids, I'm trying to improve -- I love your lal dal recipe.
You and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are giving me my cooking training wheels.

Zoe | 9:11 AM

I think you need to put a cookbook together of all of these fabulous recipes you share! My family loves pancakes, and like you, I'm not a huge fan, but I think I'll try these next time!

dumb{squared} | 10:08 AM

If I give you my address, will you just come over and make this for me? I promise I will clean-up.

dumb{squared} | 10:09 AM

If I give you my address, will you just make this or me? I promise I will clean-up.

Anonymous | 2:57 PM

Thank you for the recipe, sounds delish.

Regarding Tupperware parties: I recently went to the MOST FUN Tupperware party~ the hostess was a drag queen, and we had brunch/drinks/loads of fun!

aloha, Karen

I'm Nate's Mom | 5:50 AM

I adore pancakes and searched for years to find the perfect pancake recipe. It's the Clinton Street Bakery recipe; not at all healthy, but perfect texture and flavor. I also love this much healthier whole wheat buttermilk recipe: http://www.sweethappylife.com/2011/easy-family-recipes/whole-wheat-blueberry-buttermilk-pancakes/. Never been a fan of ricotta pancakes, but I would like to try making my own ricotta, so thanks!

Charm | 8:47 AM

These look tasty! I've never really liked ricotta that you can buy in the store but I might be able to use it if I make it myself. How much ricotta will 8 cups of milk result in? and what do you do with the liquid that you drain off?

Wendy Woolf | 9:09 AM

Charm....8 cups milk makes about 1/2 lb of ricotta. (2 1/2 cups or so.) You can use the whey instead of water to make bread or you can feed it to your animals. Or...you can put it in soups. It freezes great! I've read that sometimes you can heat it to 200 degrees again and add more vinegar or lemon juice and make a second batch of ricotta, but I haven't tried that.

vertigob | 9:22 AM

Okay, I am dying a little bit. My mother has that identical egg separater! I have never seen another one. Also, I have made homemade ricotta and it is beyond amazing. It makes the store bought stuff taste like rubber! I will definitely be trying this recipe!

Wendy Woolf | 9:29 AM

Thought of another use for whey...use it to make oatmeal!

Wendy Woolf | 10:00 AM

Dear Anon...I am honored that you thought of our family with the video you shared. What an inspiration Maia is and I hope I can grow into my old age with such grace. Thank you!

Janet | 1:50 PM

These look delicious, I must try them this week.

I love the eat well series, and since I have started collecting my recipes on pinterest I wanted to add a bunch of eat well recipes over there but you can't pin the photos if they are set to private on flickr. Just wanted to let you know, as you may want to make the eat well photos public on flickr to let people pin the wonderful recipes!

Maricris @ SittingAround | 5:05 PM

Thanks for sharing mama WWW. I will surely try it. My kids love pancakes. That's the only breakfast they know, he, he. It's good to have something different with their pancakes.

Michelle | 8:05 PM

Steamed eggs - does that make them easier to peel? We have had the worst time peeling eggs around here and have tried everything we've heard of. Any tricks?

PS. Pancakes look amazing!!

Wendy Woolf | 4:04 PM

Michelle...yes...steaming the eggs makes them easier to peel.

Anonymous | 11:24 AM

This recipe really didn't work out for me. The pancakes ended up tasting very strongly of egg, and they were very soft inside.