Ricotta & Almond Pancakes w. New Season Rhubarb
Shrove Tuesday; historically marked an occasion when people would prepare the last of their perishables; milk, butter, flour, and honey in preparation of fasting for Lent. Indulgences that were sacrificed for the coming month and ingredients that lent themselves perfectly to pancakes. I find it remarkable that such humble ingredients were, at one point in time thought of as too decadent for one’s abstinence. Nowadays doesn’t it seem like we’ve become indifferent to staples; their quality wanes and we’ve lost concern at their squander. I’m not usually one for Lent but this year I am more intent on eating simply and cleanly and so I thought I might try to seek out better sources for my staples instead. This recipe does suit well sourced staples too. The pancakes are light and moorish with fresh ricotta and by using fresh coarsely ground almonds they also have a beautiful texture and nutty constitution. New season rhubarb is rather tart so reducing the poaching syrup into something a little more saccharine is basically necessary - combined the balance is wonderful though.
Ricotta & Almond Pancakes w. new season rhubarb
340g whole milk ricotta cheese
4 eggs, separated
80g plain flour
50g of almonds, ground into a coarse meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch sea salt
Begin by separating the egg whites; the yolks can either be discarded or put to another use - then whisk the whites until they're stiff and glossy and set aside. Next combine the plain flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a separate large mixing bowl whisk the ricotta until smooth before folding through the combined dry ingredients. Finish the batter by carefully folding through the egg whites - they don't need to be fully incorporated, in fact you're trying to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and then cook individual portions of your pancake batter - turning each one after a couple of minutes. Serve immediately topped with rhubarb and extra syrup.
New Season Rhubarb
1 bunch of new season rhubarb
50ml of maple syrup
20ml of water
Juice of 1 orange
First prepare your rhubarb by removing any green leaves and slicing it into two inch pieces. Add all the ingredients into a medium saucepan and over low heat gently bring the mixture to boil. Simmer it for 3 to 5 minutes or until the rhubarb is just softened but still intact. Remove the pieces of rhubarb and continue to simmer the syrup for another 5 minutes until it becomes thick and viscous. Transfer it from the saucepan into a pouring jug and serve immediately with the rhubarb and pancakes.
SEASONAL GUIDE / temperate CLIMATE
Rhubarb; mid winter through late summer.
ALSO COMPLEMENTARY TO SERVE WITH
Fresh ricotta, crème fraîche, strained natural yoghurt, honeycomb, chopped almonds or pecans, lavender flowers, dried rose.
Pecan or hazelnut meal, poached quince, poached pear, new season blackberries, raspberries or blueberries.