When it comes to making fluffy pancakes at home, there are certain essential steps that need to be followed. Separating the eggs and adding whites to the batter towards the end of mixing certainly helps, as does mixing gently to avoid overworking the batter, which will end up producing flat, underwhelming pancakes. Adding ricotta also lends an additional flourish of decadence, with the cheese helping to make the insides super creamy and succulent, not entirely unlike cheesecake. Sure, ricotta pancakes do require a little more effort than standard pancakes, but they’re a delicious alternative for pancake day or any other time of year.
Fluffy ricotta pancakes are delicious on their own, or simply finished with a drizzle of maple syrup, but they’re even better when crowned with rashers of crispy, maple-glazed bacon. Why not make your own ricotta at home, too? It’s much easier than you may think.
How to make fluffy pancakes
Separating the eggs is the most important tip for achieving fluffy pancakes. For these ricotta pancakes, the cheese is mixed with egg yolks, milk and vanilla extract, followed by the dry ingredients. The egg whites are whipped separately, for just a minute or so to produce lots of air, then very gently folded in just before cooking. A technique used for soufflés, slowly incorporating the whipped egg whites gives the pancakes more support, ultimately making them thicker due to the egg white cells enlarging.
Even when you’ve separated the eggs, the most common mistake people make when trying to achieve fluffy pancakes is over-mixing the batter. If the batter is mixed too overzealously, the gluten proteins in the flour will bond too tightly with other gluten protein, which makes the structure tough with no space for air bubbles. In some cases, it’s even better to stop mixing sooner than you may expect. Let’s face it, unless you’re making crêpes, slightly lumpy pancakes are far better than flat pancakes.
When cooking, patience is also necessary. Not only should you only flip your pancakes once, you should wait until you see bubbles appear on the surface before flipping.
- 500 g ricotta
- 4 large free range eggs
- 360 ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 300 g plain flour sifted
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 75 g caster sugar
- Pinch salt
- Unsalted butter for frying
- Maple syrup to serve (optional)
For the maple-glazed bacon (optional)
- 12 rashers smoked streaky bacon
- A generous glug maple syrup
- If your ricotta is fairly wet, strain in a sieve for 5-10 minutes before using.
- Begin by separating the egg whites and yolks. Place the whites in a separate bowl, then add the yolks to a large mixing bowl with the ricotta and vanilla extract. Mix until all of the ricotta’s large lumps are removed, then pour in the milk and mix to combine.
- Add the sifted flour, baking powder, caster sugar, and a pinch of salt to the bowl with the egg yolk mixture and gently mix to combine. Avoid overmixing as this will result in flat pancakes.
- Vigorously whisk the egg whites on their own for about a minute, until bubbles form on top. Slowly pour into the bowl with the pancake batter and gently fold in until just incorporated.
- Unless you have a huge pan, you’ll need to cook the pancakes in batches to avoid them sticking together. Melt some butter in a large frying pan, over medium heat. Using a small ladle, ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup measure, gently pour pancake batter into the pan, using the ladle to shape the pancakes into rounds if need be. They should have a diameter of approximately 5-6 inches. Cook until bubbles appear on top of each pancake (this should take around 40-60 seconds) and the bottoms are lightly golden, then gently flip. Cook for another minute or so, checking the bottom occasionally but without flipping more than once.
- Once cooked, remove from the pan and repeat the cooking process until all pancakes are cooked.
- While the pancakes are cooking, optionally make maple-glazed bacon by placing bacon rashers in a dry frying pan. Cook over low heat for a couple of minutes to render the fat, then increase the heat to medium and turn over. Cook, turning occasionally, until almost crispy enough to suit your preferences, then pour a generous glug of maple syrup into the pan to cover the bacon. Increase the heat to high and continue to cook until the syrup thickens, turning the bacon occasionally to coat it all.