Friday, December 28, 2012

Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Butter

My sister and I usually prepare a nice Christmas morning breakfast. Last year, we made doughnuts. This year, we wanted to do something a bit more low key and that did not involve warming large amounts of large oil. Pancakes!

Presuming you aren't hung over on New Years Day, this would be a great breakfast to serve at New Years brunch! The honeycomb butter requires a little bit of advanced prep, but was definitely a unique touch to our pancakes apart from our normal butter and maple syrup.

My sister and mom whipped up the pancakes while I was fawning over / instagramming my Christmas presents. This recipe called for cottage cheese, which I've never put into pancake batter before, but apparently made these all the more moist and fluffy. These flew off the plate like...hotcakes (ugh. more bad jokes).


{Honeycomb butter}


The narrative in the cookbook said that this recipe was inspired by a placed named Bill's in Sydney, Australia. The honeycomb butter there is not made from bee hive honeycomb, but rather refers to a British & Australian candy named honeycomb. The recipe that followed was a simple version to recreate this candy. I can't fly to Sydney until I have enough miles to redeem first class tickets on an A-380 Quantas or Emirates flight out there, but when it happens, I will be sure to let you know how the original pancakes at Bill's taste (sidenote: I am only semi-joking about only going to Sydney when I have enough miles).

Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Butter, recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook

Serves 4 (makes about twenty 4-inch pancakes)

Special Notes: You will need about 45 minutes of active prep plus two hours of in-active chilling time to prepare the honeycomb butter. You might want to prepare that the night before you serve these pancakes.


For the Honeycomb Butter

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
  • Scant 1/4 tsp. salt

For the Hotcakes

  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Prepare the Honeycomb Butter

Prepare a large sheet of foil on a rimmed baking sheet.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and 1 teaspoon honey in a 2-3 quart heavy saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderately high and boil, uncovered, swirling pan occasionally until the mixture turns deep golden. Remove from heat and immediately stir in baking soda (mixture will foam up and look creamy). Pour onto a large sheet of foil. Let cool completely. 

Peel foil from candy. Coarsely chop enough candy to measure 1/2 cup (you will have some left over). Blend butter, salt, and remaining 1 tbsp. honey in a food processor until smooth (this part gets tricky - the honey may stick to the bottom of your food processor - just stop it, use a rubber spatula to try to get things together, and let it run again). Add chopped candy and blend until well combined. Transfer to a sheet of wax paper and shape into a 6-inch-long log. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped in wax paper, until firm, about 2 hours. 

Prepare the Hotcakes

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees fahrenheit. 

Whisk together the ricotta, milk, cottage cheese, and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt over ricotta mixture and whisk until just combined. 

Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer until they just hold stiff peaks. Fold gently but thoroughly into the batter. 

Brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with some melted butter and heat over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of four, scoop 1/4 cup measures of batter into the skillet, spread to form 4-inch hotcakes, and cook until the undersides are golden brown, 1-3 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook until the undersides are golden brown and hotcakes are cooked through, another 1-2 minutes. Transfer to an oven-proof platter and keep warm, covered with a kitchen towel, in oven while preparing the remaining batches, adding more butter to the skillet as necessary. 

While the hotcakes are cooking, cut honeycomb butter diagonally into 20 slices. 

Stack hotcakes on plates, interspersing them with slices of honeycomb butter. Serve with honey, maple syrup, and bananas.

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