Snow-capped breakfast mountains

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Now tell me that this picture doesn’t make you hungry. I dare ya. Ethereally light and moist ricotta pancakes resting ever so gently on a pile of fresh, sweet, ruby-red strawberries, dusted in a generous helping of powdered sugar.

Here, want a napkin to wipe up that drool? ;)

Now, if you’re even the slightest bit familiar with Aussie chef and toothpaste icon Bill Granger1, you’ll know that his ricotta pancakes are famed for being the breakfast/brunch food of choice, and as a result most folks who visit any of his cafes in Sydney end up ordering them and joining the list of converts. Unfortunately, the last time I made it to Sydney quite some years ago, I was unaware of who exactly Bill was and thus didn’t seek the chance to try them out – something I regret quite a bit now (mostly because I would rather have every teeth pulled than willingly go back to Sydney – I tell you, the town planners were on crack cocaine when they designed that city) as I don’t see myself visiting the area again anytime in the near future.

However, thankfully all is not lost, and continue reading to find out why…

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Recently, I have been lucky enough to have an independant grocery store open in my area (YEAH! F*CK YOU, COLES!), and whilst its small and no frills, they’re doing things that I highly approve of – such as training their staff to keep a careful on on the produce (there is a staff member manning every section and constantly checking over all the fruit/veg/meats/chiller cabinet goods, removing anything that is no longer fit to be there and keeping the shelves stocked with a minimal amount of produce – enough so that you have choice, but not so much that everything risks going off), and using 100% biodegradable plastic bags. The flip side of this is that the store is extremely bare bones and has no kind of print advertising, though frankly I think of this as another bonus as they’re producing less waste this way :)

Anyway, back to the story…

So, I was browsing the grocery store the other day when I noticed that there was some extremely loud commentary going on somewhere in the store. At first I thought that someone had just turned up a tv WAY too loud, I scanned the store to spot a little figure in the corner who appeared to be in the midst of cooking and waving his arms around. As it turned out, it was an Australian/French chef by the name of Gabriel Gaté who happened to be giving an in-store presentation. Now, while I know OF him, I don’t actually know much about him, so I decided to take a closer look, being very careful to look very intensly at the various product aisles that I was passing so that I wouldn’t look like I was making an actual beeline in his direction. Deciding that the dairy chiller was about as far as I wanted to go, I parked my trolley and cast a lazy eye over the goods on display while keeping one ear in Gabriel’s direction to listen to what he was saying.

Something about garlic…and Greek cooking…ahh, poor bastard, he may be a good chef but he’s pretty darn uncharismatic and not much good at getting an audiences attention.

Anyway, having lost interest in the cooking demo, I began to look over the goods in front of me in earnest when I spotted a tub of ricotta right in front of my face. Hmmm…I’d never cooked with ricotta before, but they suddenly reminded me of Bill’s pancakes, so I took ‘em off the shelf with the intention of trying them the next day.

And the verdict?

Fluffy? Obscenely so.

Light? As a cloud.

Moist? Almost TOO moist.

Would I make them again?

Ahh, now there’s the sticking point. You see, to me pancake breakfasts are all about lazy mornings, kicking back with a well brewed pot of tea, taking your time and slowly moving about. Since this recipe requires the beating of egg whites to firm peaks, this meant waking up the household on a Saturday morning at 8am – something that wasn’t entirely appreciate. Of course, the pancakes did make up for it, but the complaints I got before they sat down to enjoy the pancakes kinda killed that thrill. So yes, I would make them again, but perhaps only for a brunch or special occasion. Otherwise, my 5-minute pikelets will more than suffice for a regular pancake indulgence…

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Bill Granger’s Ricotta Pancakes

Ingredients

For the honeycomb butter
250g/8¾oz unsalted butter, softened
100g/3½oz sugar honeycomb, crushed with a rolling pin (you can use a Crunchie bar for this)
2 tbsp honey

For the hotcakes
225g/8oz ricotta
170ml/6fl oz milk
4 eggs, separated
140g/5oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch salt
50g/1½oz butter
To serve
banana or strawberries
icing sugar for dusting

1. Make the honeycomb butter first. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Shape into a log on clingfilm, roll, seal and chill in a refrigerator for two hours.

2. Place ricotta, milk and egg yolks in a mixing bowl and mix to combine. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add to the ricotta mixture and mix until just combined.

3. Place egg whites in a clean dry bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites through batter in two batches, with a large metal spoon.

4. Lightly grease a large non-stick frying pan with a small portion of the butter and drop two tablespoons of batter per hotcake into the pan (don’t cook more than three per batch).

5. Cook over low to medium heat for two minutes, or until hotcakes have golden undersides. Turn hotcakes and cook on the other side until golden and cooked through.

6. Transfer to a plate and quickly assemble with other ingredients.

7. Slice one banana lengthways onto a plate, stack three hotcakes on top with a slice of honeycomb butter. Dust with icing sugar. You can use strawberries in place of the banana.

[tags]Bill Granger, pancakes, strawberries, breakfast, brunch, recipes, dessert[/tags]

1 – Bill Granger has an insanely white and picture-perfect smile, and was featured in a commercial for Macleans toothpaste earlier this year…I looked for a video on youtube but alas, nothing can be found :(


Others who have tried this recipe:

Comments

  1. I’m not much of a cook, but even I couldn’t stuff up this recipe. I LOVE IT! But I make it with maple butter, a mixture of 50% maple syrup and 50% butter mashed together, and it’s 100% delicious.

    Now I have to defend my hometown. Sydney sprawled whereas Melbourne was planned, but it has some of the most beautiful hidden gems you’ll find anywhere. Next time you’re in town, have breakfast at Burnt Orange in Mosman and take a walk round Chowder Bay. I guarantee you’ll want to come back soon!

  2. @Lea – I’ll bear it in mind next time I’m up and looking for a breakfast spot :)

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