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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

I’m not sure why my tastebuds so closely associate lemon with spring – citrus is a winter fruit, after all, but its brightness I suppose reminds me of the sun coming out again. Lemon ricotta pancakes seem to be particularly springy – maybe because brunch becomes more common once the ground starts to thaw, with longer days, Easter and baby showers and people more eager to leave their houses and get together. Spring weekend mornings beg for pancakes. With a sweet-tart citrus kick and a light spring in their step, these lemon ricotta pancakes are a celebratory step up from the usual.

Grate the lemon zest as finely as you can to maximize flavor and avoid bits of zest in your pancakes. Ricotta cheese adds richness as well as a light airiness; light ricotta works fine, but use the real thing if you really want to do breakfast up right.

These pancakes are fantastic straight-up with maple syrup, but add blueberries, raspberries or strawberries to fancy them up a bit.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

adapted from Patent and the Pantry (and several others!)

4 eggs, separated
1 cup ricotta
3 Tbsp. sugar
grated zest of a lemon
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the egg yolks, ricotta, sugar and lemon zest. Stir in the flour. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry; fold a third at a time into the ricotta mixture.

Heat a drizzle of oil (and perhaps a bit of butter) in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet (or any pan you want to use) set over medium heat. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan, spread it out a bit and let it cook until golden on the bottom (bubbles won’t rise to the surface as readily with these), then flip and cook on the other side until golden and cooked through. Makes about 6 medium pancakes.

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