Our local farmers market is moving into high season. The market is just a couple of paths in a high school parking lot lined with a couple of dozen or so stalls. It is modest compared with the vibrant green market in New York City’s Union Square or the wondrous carnival at the Ferry Building in San Francisco; it pales next to the huge market in nearby Torrance. But visiting the various stalls and merchants has become a Sunday ritual for our family. By this time of season, green peas are gone, and asparagus is just hanging on as the weather gets warmer. Sweet cherries have given their last gasp. Plump ears of corn are on limited display. Tomatoes have made a tentative appearance; it’s still too early for the big, juicy specimens of late summer. Right now, the stars of the market are berries of all sorts and stone fruit of every variety.
This last week, the family met at the market in search of ingredients for our Sunday meal – all, that is, except the recent high school graduate who has taken to sleeping late and enjoying the days of summer before she heads off to college. The plan was for her mother to find some fruit for a fruit sauce so that on our return the graduate would arise and prepare pancakes for all of the exhausted shoppers. That plan served a secondary purpose: a crash course in basic cooking skills before the fledging leaves the nest. Everything worked as planned, and we enjoyed a delicious late breakfast. In fact, I liked them so much that I made my own batch a few days later and topped the pancakes with maple syrup that Peter and René had brought to us a gift from their recent trip to Montreal.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
- 1½ cups flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- juice of 1 lemon, strained + zest from the lemon
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Separate the eggs and set aside the whites.
- In a larger bowl, beat together the egg yolks, ricotta, buttermilk, butter, lemon juice, and zest.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the liquids, making sure they are well combined but taking care not to over-beat
- Whip the reserved egg whites to form stiff peaks. Then by thirds, gently fold them into the batter mixture.
- Let the batter rest for about 15 minutes while you heat a griddle over medium heat.
- Pour ½ cup of batter onto the griddle for individual pancakes. Do not crowd, and work in batches. Turn the pancakes when bubbles have formed on the surface and the edges are golden brown. When both sides are browned to your liking, serve immediately or transfer to a warm oven until all the pancakes have been prepared.
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 cups fresh blueberries (strawberries would also work)
- Or, you can make it 2 cups of your favorite fruit
- In a small sauce pan combine the water, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch, stirring to make sure the sugar is dissolved and the corn starch is completely dispersed. Place the pan over medium-low heat and, stirring frequently, bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to simmer. Add the fruit and cook until the mixture has thickened and the fruit has begun to release its juices, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve over the ricotta pancakes.