I’m not normally a huge pancake eater. They fill me up too fast and give me a sugar rush, and they take my focus away from important things like eggs and bacon. Jon likes pancakes – he can eat the always-amazing banana coconut cakes at the breakfast place down the hill, and live to tell the tale. I still feel a little faint when I remember the pancake plate at the Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea – twice the size of the head of the person eating it! I can’t compete with that kind of pancake devotion. But there is a pancake that I will eat at any time: the cottage cheese (or ricotta) pancake.
Like many cheesy items in our family’s repertoire, this comes from the original Vegetarian Epicure, published in 1972. It has many virtues: the recipe is simple to expand or reduce (we usually make a 1/3 or 1/2 recipe for the two of us), it’s very high protein and low-carb, unless you smother it in jam or syrup, and if you use cottage cheese, the curds melt and form little gooey pockets that are truly delightful. Ricotta is nice too, in more of an airy, dissolve in the mouth kind of way which is very misleading – these do fill you up pretty fast.
I’m particularly fond of these pancakes as a vehicle for stewed rhubarb, but blueberries are excellent, as is a good dollop of lingonberry preserves. We picked up a jar at IKEA last time we were on a furniture binge, and it’s great stuff: runnier than jam, and nicely tart. Maple syrup is never a bad choice either.
Cottage Cheese Pancakes
adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 6 eggs, separated
- 2/3 cups flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- cinnamon or grated lemon zest (optional)
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- oil or butter
Combine the cottage cheese, egg yolks, flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and beat until mostly smooth. Add cinnamon or lemon zest if using.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff. Fold into the cheese-egg mixture.
Heat a nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron pan to medium high – you will probably need to adjust as you go. Add a little oil or a bit of butter to the pan.
Carefully place small dollops of batter on the skillet – it’s very puffy and lumpy, and doesn’t really pour, so we often use a small ladle. Don’t make them too large. Cook until golden brown on both sides – the insides may be gooey but they shouldn’t be wet.
For best results, consume as they come off the stove, slathered in butter, syrup or jam. If allowed to cool, they will still be tasty, but they will lose their ethereal perfection and slight crispiness.