The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks mom!
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.
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.
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.)
Turn off the heat and stir in lemon juice or vinegar.
Allow the mixture to sit for 1-2 minutes or until curds form.
Pour the mixture into a colander lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth and let it drain into a large bowl or into the sink.
The longer you let it drain, the thicker the ricotta cheese.
Makes about a ½ pound ricotta cheese. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate.
(The cheese will keep 4-5 days.)
Heavenly Ricotta Pancakes
(Precious brand recipe)
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
½ lb ricotta cheese
2/3 cup milk
½ cup flour
1. Separate eggs and whip egg whites until they make soft peaks.*
2. Mix all other ingredients together.
6. Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup, fresh fruit or jam. (I used Smucker’s Michigan tart cherry jam which is AMAZING!!)
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.
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.
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.