Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

The best part about these pancakes is that there is none of that pesky egg-white whipping and delicate folding. With their butter-crisp edges and billowy lemony insides, these pancake say i’m sorry and you’re welcome all at the same time.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
1/2 cup ricotta
1 Tbs lemon zest
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup fine corn meal (floury kind)
1 cup all purpose flour
6 Tbs sugar
Whisk together the flour, corn flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl whisk together the ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs and buttermilk. Stir the dry into the wet a bit at a time, to minimize lumps. Stir slowly, and just to get all the ingredients incorporated. Allow to sit about 5 minutes while you heat up the pan. I like to use butter to cook my pancakes, and i like it to get a bit brown before laying down the batter. But these pancakes are even delicious with pan spray. I suggest pureed fruit, fruit syrup or a glaze made with lemon juice and powdered sugar as a topper.

Fresh Ricotta

Homemade ricotta is nothing like what you find in the supermarket; packed tightly into tubs with expiry dates a month long. It is naturally sweet with creamy curds and only lasts a few days. That is the good news. It is a bit time consuming,uses quite a bit of milk, and can be a bit of a mess. Last week cannoli was on my mind so I whipped up a pot of fresh ricotta. And when I say whipped, I mean spent an entire day preparing, cooking, skimming and draining. For my birthday, my friend gave me a beautiful cookbook
“my calabria” by rosetta costantino. Rosetta shares a family recipe for ricotta using a combination of milk and cream. It produces a large yield perfect for eating with a spoon, whipped into lemon pancakes,stuffed into cannoli shells, or sharing with friends.

*from my calabria
1 gallon whole milk
3/4 cup cream
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp rennet
1/4 cup cold water
Place the milk and cream in heavy pan and stir to mix well. warm over heat to 200-210F. Remove from heat and add the salt. stir to dissolve. Let the milk to cool to 100F. skim any foam or skin that forms on top of the milk. In a small bowl, mix the rennet with cold water. Stir the diluted rennet into the pot of milk, then leave undisturbed until the milk has visibly thickened, about 10 minutes. Cut a large “cross” in the milk. Stir quickly with a wooden spoon for 15-20 seconds to break up the coagulated milk. Using a perforated metal skimmer immersed in the milk,slowly and gently stir in one direction, so slowly that it takes about 20 seconds to make one revolution. Milk will begin to separate into curds and whey. Slowly pour off the whey through a cheesecloth lined colander, set over a bowl to drain. Let stand at room temperature until whey stops dripping from the sieve. Alternately, if you have ricotta baskets, you can use those to drain the curds. The ricotta should be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator. It is best used within 2-3 days. This makes about 2 lbs
* I don’t throw the whey out…I use it. Mike and I use it in our smoothies and I give the dogs a bit of it in their kibble. It helps with a shiny coat. I can’t say the same for us humans.


On March 19th Italians celebrate St. Joseph in gratitude. During a drought and subsequent famine, in Sicily, the faithful prayed to St. Joseph in hopes he would intervene. When the prayers were answered with rain and a successful harvest, the people of Sicily vowed to give thanks. Yearly. For eternity. Today, you may find Italians wearing red, praying in churches, preparing the altar and abstaining from meat. You will also find this Italian enjoying sweets. This is a day of reverence and joy. Last year I dispensed sage advice <em?if you want to read it, click here. This year you get a recipe.


(you can buy them..there isn’t a prize for the person who slaves over hot oil all day making these)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbs crisco or lard
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup marsala wine
1 egg–whisked with a bit of water
Combine the flour, sugar, salt and lard together. Slowly add the marsala while kneading the dough. Continue working the dough until it is well mixed and a rather hard dough is formed. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit an hour and up to 3 hours. Roll the dough out to 1/4″ sheet and cut with a 4-5″ round cutter. Quickly run a rolling pin over the rounds in 1 direction to form the rounds into ovals. Place a metal tube in the center of the oval and bring the sides up, overlapping enough to form the shell. Brush seams with a bit of egg wash to seal.
Heat oil in a pot. Drop the shells a few at a time into the hot oil and fry until they are light brown and bubbly. Remove from oil and place on greaseproof paper. Allow to cool long enough to handle, then slide the tube out and allow the shells to fully cool.

1 1/2 lbs ricotta–drained to remove excess moisture
1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs finely grated lemon peel
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
Mix all ingredients together and let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to meld. Filled cannoli shells tend to get a bit soft after time. If you want your shells to remain crispy, wait until you are ready to serve before filling them.