Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce

8 03 2011

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce

March 8th is Pancake Day (a.k.a. Shrove Tuesday)!   It’s a great excuse to whip up some pancakes for breakfast (or have ‘breakfast-for-dinner’ if there’s no time in the morning).  Adding lemon zest and a bit of fresh juice gives these breakfast treats a hint of lemon flavour that is perfect with strawberry sauce. Fresh strawberries aren’t in season in most areas yet but frozen ones work just as well. Of course, maple syrup also pairs well with the pancakes and is seasonally appropriate.

Ricotta is a soft, mild cheese that can be found in the dairy case of most supermarkets. However, it’s also possible to make it at home and doesn’t require any exotic ingredients: Home-Made Ricotta.

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce

Makes about 10 pancakes (recipe can be halved or doubled)

The Strawberry Sauce can simmer while you’re preparing the batter and cooking the pancakes (see recipe below).

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Finely grated zest of one medium lemon (about 2 teaspoons of zest)
  • 2 cups milk (1% or 2%)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • Oil for cooking
  • Strawberry Sauce (see below for recipe)
  • Lemon zest, powdered sugar or fresh strawberries as garnish (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, add flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and lemon zest.  Use a fork to stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  2. Pour the milk into a large measuring cup.  Break the eggs into the milk and beat with a fork until combined. Melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute (or in a saucepan if you don’t have a microwave).  Let cool slightly and stir it into the milk/egg mixture.
  3. Slow pour the milk and egg mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring as you add the liquid.  Add the lemon juice and whisk until the batter is fairly smooth.
  4. Break up the ricotta with your fingers and add to the batter.  Stir until combined (there may be some small lumps of ricotta but that’s ok).
  5. In a large skillet, add a small amount of oil and heat on medium-high until a bit of batter dropped in sizzles. Working in batches, pour three or four circles of batter into the pan.  Cook until browned on the bottom, about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat slightly and flip the pancakes over.  Continue to cook until the bottom in browned and they are just cooked through.  Move cooked pancakes to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.
  6. Top with Strawberry Sauce (below) or maple syrup and garnish with lemon zest, powdered sugar or fresh strawberry slices if desired. For an extra decadent treat, add a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream to each serving.

Strawberry Sauce

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
  1. Add all ingredients to a large sauce pan.  Heat on medium-high, stirring occasionally.  Lower the heat to medium and let the strawberries simmer while the pancakes are cooking (about 15 minutes).  Use a potato masher or fork to crush the cooked strawberries.  Serve over pancakes or waffles.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

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Christmas Brunch

23 12 2010

Pre-cooked ham makes an easy Christmas brunch dish.

Christmas morning is an exciting time for anyone who celebrates the holiday.  Kids wake up at the crack of dawn to see if Santa has arrived and many adults still feel a tingle of excitement when they see the tree surrounded by gifts in the morning. Once everyone has opened their presents and settled down, why not enjoy a delicious brunch?

I like to make a nice meal on Christmas morning.  However, I don’t like to fuss too much because who wants to be slaving in the kitchen when everyone else is having fun?  (plus, I have a turkey dinner to cook later in the day!).  The key is to do as much as possible the night before so Christmas can be enjoyed with your family.

Here are a few ideas for a relatively simple brunch.  I have included some helpful tips for prepping in advance to make things easier.

Spiced Cranberry-Apple Cider – On Christmas morning, I like to get up before everyone and put on a pot of mulled cider so when everyone wakes up, the house smells wonderful and there is something warm to drink while we’re opening gifts. Prepare the spice packet the night before. To make cranberry-apple cider, mix equal parts non-alcoholic apple cider and unsweetened cranberry juice in a saucepan and add the spice packet. Let simmer for 10 minutes and serve.  Garnish mugs with cinnamon sticks if desired.

Crustless Quiche – Leaving out the crust makes things much simpler. Of course, asparagus isn’t in season during Christmas but you can substitute chopped spinach, sautéed leeks, diced red peppers or sautéed mushrooms.  Bake the pie the night before and serve at room temperature or briefly warmed in the oven.

Spicy Breakfast Potatoes – The potatoes can be peeled and cubed the night before. Place the cubes in a bowl, add enough cold water to just cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Drain well and pat dry before cooking.  The spices can be pre-mixed in a small bowl so they’re ready to go in the morning.  You can let the potatoes cook while you’re preparing other dishes.

Cheddar-Herb Biscuits – The biscuits can be rolled, cut and placed in the baking dish the night before.  Refrigerate overnight and let them come to room temperature before baking.

Ham with Spicy Maple-Dijon Glaze – I buy a ham that has been pre-cooked, which makes things much simpler.  It can be sliced and served cold or heated briefly in the oven while other things are baking. Prepare the mustard glaze the night before and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Baked French Toast – This entire dish can be assembled the night before and baked in the morning.

Morning Glory (Orange and Pomegranate Mimosas) – In a pitcher, add orange and pomegranate juices the night before and refrigerate.  Add the sparkling wine just before serving (the wine can be added to the pitcher or to individual glasses.)  Use club soda for guests who don’t drink.

Pancakes – Mix all of the dry ingredients the night before in a large bowl.  Measure out the wet ingredients (except the egg) into small bowls and refrigerate.  In the morning, combine everything and cook the pancakes.  Serve with pre-made fruit syrup or maple syrup.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins – Like pancakes, the dry ingredients can all be measured and added to a large bowl the night before.  Measure the wet ingredients into small bowls and refrigerate.  In the morning, you can mix and bake everything quickly.

Banana-Rum Bread – Banana bread and other sweet breads can be made in advance and frozen.  Remove from the freezer the night before to defrost in time for brunch.

Yogurt, cereal, bagels with cream cheese, smoked salmon, granola and fruit don’t require much prep work!

Coffee and Tea – Set up the coffee maker/espresso machine/french press with coffee and water the night before.  Fill a kettle with water for tea.

A Final Tip: You will be very happy in the morning if you take the time to set the table before you go to bed (and tell Santa not to mess it up with crumbs while he’s enjoying his milk and cookies on Christmas Eve!)

Bon Appétit and Happy Holidays!





Baked French Toast

26 12 2008

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When cooking for a crowd around the holidays, it’s helpful to have a few recipes that can be prepared in advance so you can enjoy the festivities with your guests.  This is the perfect dish for Christmas morning or New Year’s Day but it can be made any time you want something fuss-free and delicious for breakfast.  All the prep work is done the night before so all you have to do is bake it and serve in the morning.

This recipe was developed by me and my sister-in-law Jenn this year so we could minimize kitchen time on Christmas morning.  It works best with bread that is slightly stale.  Use a whole loaf (instead of pre-sliced bread) so you can slice it thickly yourself.

Baked French Toast

Makes about 12 thick slices

  • 1 whole loaf unsliced challah or other white bread
  • 1 can (370 ml / 12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk (equals 1-1/2 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest (finely grated orange peel)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • Butter, to grease baking pan

 

  1. Grease a large baking pan (at least 12″ X 16″).  Slice bread into slices about 1″ thick and lay flat in pan. Make sure all pieces are laying flat and not overlapping or they won’t brown properly.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine evaporated milk, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, orange zest, nutmeg and salt.  Whisk until smooth and thoroughly mixed.
  3. Pour mixture evenly over bread slices.  Once it has soaked in a bit, turn slices over so they are completely soaked in egg mixture. 
  4. Cover pan and place in the fridge overnight.
  5. To bake: heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake french toast for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread is browned on top and beginning to puff.
  6. Serve with maple syrup or your favourite topping.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!