Pancakes are the blue jeans of the breakfast world; they go well with everything. From sweet potatoes and blueberries to chocolate chips and cornmeal, pancakes play nicely with a variety of flavors, but chef Chris Jakubiec says they love lemon the most.
"Pancakes are a sweet breakfast treat, so it only makes sense to serve them with something to cut the sweetness," says the executive chef of The Greenhouse at The Jefferson in Washington, D.C., who shares his recipe for lemon ricotta pancakes below. "Lemon adds acidity and goes so well with ricotta!"
Jakubiec uses Meyer lemon for his recipe, but says regular lemons can be used as well. "It only changes the flavor profile slightly in terms of sweetness, as Meyer lemon tends to be a little more concentrated," he says.
Though there's no lemon in the actual pancakes or ricotta, Jakubiec garnishes the stack with a syrup made of lemon juice, lemon segments, limoncello and a simple syrup made with lemon zest. "Both the pancakes and ricotta are naturally sweet, so they need something with acidity to balance our the sweetness. The lemon acts as a bit of a palate cleanser as well."
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Courtesy of Chris Jakubiec, executive chef of The Greenhouse at The Jefferson in Washington, D.C.
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 dash salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a whisk or large fork, mix in the buttermilk and egg until well combined and smooth. Stir in the melted butter.
Heat non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Using a ¼ cup measure, pour pancake batter onto hot griddle. When pancake is golden brown, flip to cook other side. Keep warm in oven heated to 275 degrees.
- 1 cup ricotta, strained
- Vanilla extract to taste
Combine the ricotta with the vanilla extract.
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup limoncello
- 2 lemons, juiced
- ¼ cup lemon segments
- ¼ cup lemon zest simple syrup
- Powdered sugar to garnish
In a non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the sugar and butter. When butter is completely melted, add the limoncello and lemon juice. Flambe and remove from the heat once the alcohol has burned off. Add lemon zest, the lemon segments and ¼ cup of reserved lemon syrup. Continue to heat on very low heat.
Place one pancake on a plate, spread on a spoonful of ricotta mixture, then stack another pancake on top and spoon on more ricotta. Add one final pancake with another spoonful of ricotta. Garnish with a drizzle of the lemon zest simple syrup combined with the limoncello.
Lemon Zest Simple Syrup
- 3 lemons zested, white removed and julienned
- 1 1/2 cups water
- ½ cup granulated sugar
Place zest in cold water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, strain, return to the pan with cold water to cover and repeat the process. Repeat three times total. In a separate pan, bring the water and sugar to a boil to make a simple syrup. Add the zest to the syrup and cook for 25-30 minutes or until tender. Cool the zest in the syrup and reserve.