Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Prairie Fire's Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

                                                                                              Taken With Casio's TRYX

I had great expectations for Prairie Fire this morning. At 215 N Clinton, this restaurant is so close to the train station in Chicago I’m kind of surprised that I didn’t come across it before today.

I had the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and have been dying to try them ever since Time Out Chicago named this dish one of the best things they ate in 2010. One down and 99 to go!

When the waiter brought me a stack of five, I laughed expecting to get through maybe half of them.

I ATE THEM ALL! I bulldozed through the entire pile but these were not your usual, every day pancake. They were so fluffy and light… more like a cross between a pancake, souffle and popover.

I tried the recipe below to which I added a fourth a cup of ricotta and lemon zest and although it was good – and they were lighter than most pancakes I have made - they were not as light as Prairie Fire’s. Back to the kitchen on this one for another try.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 eggs well beaten

2 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Mix together dry ingredients.

Stir in buttermilk.

Fold in eggs.

Stir in butter.

Cook on a hot, ungreased griddle until brown on each side.

Another take on ricotta and lemon…

This recipe is from Fine Cooking where they described these souffle muffins as having that same consistency as the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.

You can add the ricotta and lemon or leave it out. I made it both ways and they were both delicious!

Bon Appetit!

Pancake Soufflé Muffins with Strawberry-Maple Syrup
Adapted from Bill Telepan recipe

Nonstick cooking spray

10-1/2 oz. (2-1/3 cups) all-purpose flour

4-1/2 oz. (1 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cake flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

½ cup ricotta cheese (optional)

1 TBSP lemon zest (optional)

6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

3/4 tsp. cream of tartar

3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

6 T bs. granulated sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3-1/3 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

Strawberry Syrup

1 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup quartered, hulled ripe strawberries

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Liberally spray two 12-cup muffin pans with the cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large, clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed to firm (but not dry) peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the mixer on medium-high speed until thick, ribbony, and lemon-yellow, about 6 minutes. Add the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla; mix on medium-low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Add one-third of the buttermilk and mix to combine. Alternate adding the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk, ending with the buttermilk and mixing until just combined.

With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter, leaving some streaks. Fold in ricotta and lemon zest.

Scoop about 1/2 cup of the batter into each muffin cup—you can fill the cups to the rims. Bake, rotating the pans after 10 minutes, until browned on top and puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out dry, 20 to 25 minutes total.

While the muffins are baking, bring the maple syrup to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Put the strawberries in a medium serving bowl. Pour the syrup over the berries and set aside in a warm spot.

With an offset spatula, pop the muffins out of the cups and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve with the syrup.