Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ricotta Pancakes & Honeycomb Butter

Make your breakfast extra special with these pancakes that are crispy on the outside and airy on the inside.  Due to the fluffy egg whites in the batter, it will not be pourable.  The pancakes are formed by spooning out the mixture and leveling it on the griddle for cooking.  Once cooked, they hold up well in the oven. You can prepare the whole batch while keeping the initial ones warm.

While the pancakes are good, the honeycomb butter makes them extra special. As the butter melts, it will leave delicious little traces of the honeycomb.  To save time in the morning, make the butter the night before.

The recipes below make enough for 4-5 servings with extra honeycomb leftover.  The extra honeycomb can be used on ice cream or in hot tea.

Honeycomb Butter
adapted from The Best American Recipes 2001-2002

8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temp
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tbs plus 1 tsp honey
2 tbs water
1 tbs light corn syrup 
1/2 cup sugar

Prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil and pull out a blender or food processor.

In a medium size saucepan, fill with sugar, corn syrup, 1 tsp of honey and water. Place over medium heat and cover.  Check and stir periodically until mixture comes to a boil and all sugar is dissolved.  Uncover and turn up the heat and continue to boil without stirring.  As it cooks, lift the pan off the heat and swirl a few times.  The cooking will be completed when the syrup becomes a deep golden color.

Remove pan from heat and quickly stir in the baking soda.  This will cause the mixture to foam up and look creamy. Pour syrup onto prepared baking sheet and let cool completely.

Peel candy off of the foil and place back on the foil.  Unwrap foil from baking sheet and fold over candy. Then cover with a kitchen towel. Break the candy into pieces by using a meat mallet or your hands. Measure out 1/2 cup of the crumbs for the butter and place the rest in a zip lock bag for storing.

Fill a food processor or blender with the butter, salt and remaining tablespoon of honey.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Add the candy crumbs and pulse until evenly distributed.  Empty mixture onto a sheet of wax paper and roll up paper so the butter is formed into a 6 inch log.  Refrigerate until ready to use. 

Ricotta Pancakes
adapted from The Best American Recipes 2001-2002 

4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1/3 cup cottage cheese
1 cup whole milk ricotta
3/4 cup milk
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs or more of butter (for greasing griddle)

In order to keep the pancakes warm while you cook the others, have a baking sheet out and preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

In a medium size bowl, blend the ricotta, milk, cottage cheese and egg yolks with a wire whisk.  Take out a sifter and place it over the bowl.  Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into the batter.  Then whisk together until all is combined.   Set aside.

Pour the egg whites into a separate bowl and beat with an electric mixer.  Continue to beat until egg whites just reach the stiff peak stage.  Using a spatula, gently fold egg white mixture into batter.  Make sure that the egg whites are completely distributed into the batter.

Brush a griddle or a 12 inch skillet with the melted butter and place over medium heat.  The pan should be hot but you do not want it to smoke.  Spoon out 1/4 of a cup of batter and spread to form a 4 inch pancake.  There should be room to place a total 4 to a batch in the pan.  Let cook for 3-4 minutes or when underside turns to a golden brown. Flip and cook the other side in the same manner.  Put each on a baking sheet, cover with a towel and place in oven to keep warm.  Continue this process until no batter remains, brushing griddle occasionally with more melted butter to make sure nothing sticks to the pan.

To serve, stack a few pancakes together on a plate with honeycomb butter in between and on top.