A very good use for a lemon

Back in January, a lovely friend with whom I serve on a local board flew up from Palm Desert for our quarterly board meeting.  With him came a bag of freshly picked Meyer lemons from the tree in his yard.  I was lucky enough to come home from our meeting with three of them. 

I had no idea what to do with these amazing lemons.  I love the flavor of Meyer lemons . . . but these were enormous . . . and fragrant . . . and home grown . . . and did I say big?  They were too nice to preserve or cut up into marmalade . . . and three isn't enough to make a batch of curd (but who needs lemon curd anyway?).  So I thought about it for a few more days and then happened upon a perfect recipe in my search for what to make for dinner one night: lemon ricotta pancakes. I happened to have half a container of ricotta in my fridge, so the recipe didn't require a trip to the store.  Even better.

We ate pancakes for dinner that night, and they filled the house with a most lovely fragrance.  I topped them with blueberries, plain yogurt, and a touch of maple syrup.  They were so good we devoured every last one and I forgot to take a picture.
Although quite light, the pancakes take considerably more time to cook than traditional pancakes.  They'd do well under a warm blueberry compote or even something like citrus segments and syrup. 

The cookbook I found them in is one of those themed cookbooks --  all about breakfast and brunch.  Can't recall where I found it (Anthropologie perhaps?).  It's from the UK and lists all ingredients by weight (couldn't more U.S. cookbooks do this too??? Please.).  The book has a wonderful buttermilk waffle recipe in it that we make all the time.  Plus a few more gems like poached eggs with spinach on flat bread with Greek yogurt & chili butter and a holiday favorite of mine, homemade crumpets.

Now that I've discovered the ricotta pancake,  I'm thinking I might have to try it as a savory herb pancake sometime this spring.  Maybe with smoked salmon on the side . . .

Meyer Lemon & Ricotta Pancakes
Adapted from The Perfect Start to Your Day by Tonia George
Serves 2-4

250 g/1 cup whole milk ricotta
juice and grated zest of one Meyer lemon ( used the juice from only half of my gigantic lemon but zested the whole thing)
3 large eggs, separated
50 g/3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
100 g/3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
4 Tbs. granulated sugar
plain yogurt or whipped cream and fresh fruit, to serve

Beat together by hand the ricotta, lemon juice and zest, egg yolks and half the melted butter.  Sift the flour, soda and salt together, then fold into the ricotta mixture.  Separately whisk the egg whites (I use my kitchen aid mixer) until soft peaks appear.  Add sugar and continue whisking until glossy and peaks are firm.  Fold the whites into the batter.

Coat a heavy pan or griddle with a thin layer of melted butter.  When hot, drop a large spoonful of batter on the surface and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes before turning.  The pancakes rise quite a bit and they need to be cooked a bit slower than typical pancakes so they cook through. 

Serve warm with toppings.


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