Fluffy ricotta and fresh lemon zest are a perfect pair when swirled into an airy pancake. The biggest challenge with this recipe is sharing the pancakes with others. For best results, use fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese, or make your own.
- 1Place butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until butter has melted; remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- 2In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; set aside.
- 3Place egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in a quarter of the milk-butter mixture (this will temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling), then whisk in the remaining milk-butter mixture until smooth.
- 4Add the reserved flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not overmix); set aside.
- 5In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites to soft peaks (they should bend like soft-serve ice cream; make sure the bowl and whisk are perfectly clean with no traces of grease, or the whites will not whip properly). Halfway through whisking them, sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using the rubber spatula, fold the whites into the reserved batter until just combined.
- 6Gently fold the ricotta into the batter, being careful not to break down the texture of the cheese (the batter will be lumpy and streaked with ricotta); set aside.
- 7Heat a large nonstick frying pan, griddle, or seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot, about 4 minutes. Test to see if the pan is hot enough by sprinkling a couple of drops of cold water in it: If the water bounces and sputters, the pan is ready to use.
- 8Lightly coat the pan’s surface with butter, then use a 1/4-cup measure to scoop the batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles form on top of the pancakes, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until the bottoms are golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve immediately with powdered sugar, fruit, butter, or maple syrup.