Friday, December 30, 2011

Ricotta Pancakes with Roasted Strawberries

Christmas was very different for me this year.  I spent it with my wonderful boyfriend cooking a very simple roast chicken with mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and green beans.  We spent two days just being lazy.  Lazy meaning we stayed inside and not left the apartment.  Watched some movies.  Lots of Christmas movies.  I feel great now.  After a few days of not working, I feel rejuvanated.  Ready to tackle the week. 

And these ricotta pancakes...

Not that it requires much tackling.  I just measured all my ingredients in a bowl the night before and just combined everything when I woke up the next morning.  I even left my whites out at room temperature.  (They really whip much easier when they're not fridge cold).

I'm not much of a pancake kinda gal.  I'm more the french toast, then waffle, THEN pancake kinda gal.  But I don't know why, I've been craving pancakes.  Fluffy cakes that are really disguised as something tolerated for breakfast.  With proper maple syrup please.  Oh, don't even get me started on blueberries!  Blueberries warmed in a pot of maple syrup.  Yes bring it on!

But today I'm straying from the norm and serving my pancakes with some oven roasted strawberries.  They really don't take long at all in the oven.  It's just to warm them enough so they release their liquid.  The syrup that comes out is really magical.  The pectin from the strawberries gives the syrup it's natural thickness.  Eating one of these strawberries is like nature's surprise candy.  It's so sweet and juicy.  Strawberry flavour to the power of ten.  Even if you don't plan to eat them with pancakes, spoon them with all it's syrupy glory over yogurt or vanilla ice cream.

Now maybe I'll go as far to describe this as indulging in a strawberry cheesecake for breakfast. I can pretend, can't I?

Ricotta Pancakes with Roasted Strawberries
(Serves two lazy and hungry people)

I would suggest roasting the strawberries the night before and keep them in the fridge for the next morning.  They seem to release more syrup as it sits.  To make pancake day much easier, I measure everything the night before and keep the wet ingredients in the fridge, except for the whites.  Even if you're still half asleep, most of the work is already done. 

2 pints strawberries
2 tbsp sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it)

Ricotta Pancakes
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 orange
2 eggs, separated
oil, for greasing the pan

Preheat oven to 350'F. 

Wash and hull the strawberries.  If any strawberries are really big, cut them in half or quarters.

Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle over the sugar.  Adjust the sugar depending on how sweet your strawberries are.

Bake them just until they start to get soft.  Give them a gentle squeeze, they shouldn't be completely mushy.  About 10- 15 minutes. 

For the pancakes, whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together the ricotta, butter, vanilla extract, orange zest, and two egg yolks.

Pour the dry ingredients into the cheese mix and gently fold to combine.

In a clean bowl, whisk the two egg whites until soft peaks.  Fold into the ricotta batter.

Cook the pancake batter in a non stick griddle over medium heat, oiling the pan as needed every now and then. I like mine in smaller rounds, so I use a quarter cup measure.

Serve hot, with extra ricotta on top and the roasted strawberries.

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