Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes w. Fresh Lemon Curd

I was inspired to make these after yet another conversation with my husband about our favorite spots and dishes in New York. I woke up the next morning with ambition and, oddly enough, all the ingredients needed to create a version of the lemon ricotta pancakes from Locanda Verde in Tribeca. Full disclosure: this recipe takes time and quite a few dishes, but it is totally worth it.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes // Serves 4-6

¼ c unsalted butter

1 c milk, whatever kind you keep in your fridge (some fat content is good)

1 1/4 c flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp fine sea salt

3 eggs, separated

2 T sugar

Zest of 2 lemons

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup ricotta

Lemon curd(recipe below)*

Blueberries for serving

*If making both recipes in the morning, make lemon curd first, then warm to serve as needed

Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan placed over medium heat and allow butter to completely melt; remove from heat. Alternatively, microwave in 30 second increments until butter has melted and set aside.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of the salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1 T sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Measure out the ricotta cheese and set aside to come to room temperature while you continue with the recipe. Pour a little of the milk mixture into the eggs, whisking continuously, to temper them. Slowly pour in the remainder of the milk, whisking until completely incorporated. Add the flour and whisk to just combine, but ensuring the batter is smooth; set aside.

Place the egg whites in a bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl if you want to get your arm workout in! Whisk until they start to become solid white and foamy, then add in the remaining 1 T sugar and the ½ tsp salt. Whisk on high until soft peaks form - you want them to be thick enough to hold their shape, but still bend over like a soft serve ice cream cone(I apologize that I now have you thinking about ice cream). Add the whipped egg whites to the batter and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Add the ricotta and continue to fold in until mostly incorporated, but with some pieces of ricotta throughout - you don’t want a completely smooth batter!

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with whatever you please (butter is always my favorite). Pour about ¼ c of the batter onto the hot pan for each pancake and cook until golden brown and bubbles begin to form and pop on top; flip and cook 2-3 minutes longer.

Serve with warm lemon curd, fresh blueberries, a dusting of powdered sugar...and know that it won't be the last time you make these because your family will not let it be.

Lemon Curd // Makes appx. 1 cup

3 T unsalted butter, softened

½ c sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

Juice of 2 lemons (or generous 5 T, depending on the juiciness of yours!)

Zest of ½ lemon

Using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined and light. Add in egg and yolk and beat for 1 minute. Mix in the lemon juice to combine; this will make the mixture look curdled and a little icky, but I promise you that it cooks out smooth as the butter melts(I even proved it with the picture below). Place mixture in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth.

Cooking Lemon Curd

Increase the heat to medium, stirring continuously as it cooks and thickens, until the mixture is bright yellow, thick enough that a swipe of your finger leaves a solid line on the back of the spoon and reads about 170 degrees*.

Finished Lemon Curd

Remove from heat and stir in the zest; transfer to a bowl to use right away. If keeping for a later use, transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, allow to cool slightly, then press a piece of plastic wrap right down onto the curd to prevent a layer of film from forming. Put the lid on and place in the refrigerator and store for up to a week.

*Be careful in this phase as it can start to stick to the bottom(it happened to me!). If this is the case for you, continue to cook until it’s thick, but be careful not to scrape too much off of the bottom. Before stirring in the zest, press the curd through a fine-mesh sieve to create a completely smooth product, then continue with the remaining steps.

Lemon Curd

This is the first time I had ever attempted curd, and it was much easier than I expected, however, it is not a recipe you can make while distracted as it can boil or burn quickly! I have never been much of a lemon person when it comes to desserts, so I am glad the quest to recreate a restaurant dish forced me to step out of that box!  This recipe will work with any citrus you like so go crazy this summer with a fresh take on it - maybe use it to top cheesecake or to add some zip to a strawberry shortcake - whatever you try, have fun and share it with the people you love.

With a full heart and an empty plate,