Life Eat & Drink Recipe road test: Curtis Stone’s ricotta pancakes
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Recipe road test: Curtis Stone’s ricotta pancakes

Butter was found to be neither harmful nor beneficial.
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Our Recipe Road Tester is a food lover who estimates she’s cooked over 10,000 meals in her lifetime and continues to cook for a family of four. We will not be revealing her identity.

This week, we asked our Recipe Road Tester to tackle Curtis Stone’s ricotta pancakes with melted raspberries and lemon butter.

The full recipe and the findings of the Road Tester’s home kitchen test are below, but from the outset she observed:

“This is not a speedy breakfast. Grab a good book and a comfy chair because you’ll need both of them while whisking the egg whites by hand, a good five minutes of solid repetitive strain injury-inducing work. If it wasn’t a breakfast recipe, we’d suggest pouring a wine as well. But hey, if you’re making them for brunch, go for it.

“Successful LA restaurateur, surfer dude and Coles spruiker Curtis Stone says these are a long term favorite of his, declaring ‘Truly, they are my all time favourite pancakes’. Hopefully, given the amount of sugar and butter, he doesn’t make them for his young son all that often.”

THE RECIPE

Curtis Stone’s ricotta pancakes with melted raspberries and lemon butter

I perfected these pancakes as a young chef while working at The Savoy Hotel in Melbourne, and have been making them ever since. Truly, they are my all-time favourite pancakes! Now that my son Hudson is walking and talking, I like to make big pancakes for the grown-ups and fifty-cent-sized pancakes for him.

I call the raspberries ‘melted’ because they’re quickly cooked with a touch of sugar just until they begin to soften and release their juice, but still retain their beautiful shape. Beating icing sugar and lemon zest into the butter makes it creamy and lighter in texture (not to mention utterly delicious!) – perfect for spreading over these pancakes, or waffles, toast, crumpets or scones. A good morning, indeed.

Serves 4

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For the sweet lemon butter

115g unsalted butter, softened

30g icing sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the melted raspberries

340g fresh raspberries

50g caster sugar

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

For the pancakes

250g fresh ricotta cheese

4 medium eggs, separated

180ml buttermilk

125g plain flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

a pinch of salt

50g caster sugar

about 45g unsalted butter

Method

Curtis Stone, the man behind the pancakes.
Curtis Stone, the man behind the pancakes.

• First make the sweet lemon butter. Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Set aside at room temperature.

• To make the melted raspberries, heat a large, heavy frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the raspberries, sugar and lemon zest and cook for about 45 seconds until the sugar melts and the berries soften only slightly and begin to release their juice to form a syrup. Don’t let the berries cook too long or they will become mushy and lose their beautiful shape. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

• To make the pancakes, whisk together the ricotta and egg yolks in a large bowl to blend, then whisk in the buttermilk. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the ricotta mixture and whisk once more until just combined.

• In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar just until stiff peaks form. Using a large silicone spatula, gently fold the egg whites through the batter in two batches.

• Heat a flat, smooth griddle pan over medium–low heat. Melt some of the unsalted butter on the griddle. Make the pancakes in batches of about three at a time (or more if you are making small pancakes). Ladle the batter on to the griddle and cook the pancakes for about 3 minutes per side until they puff, turn golden brown and are just cooked through. Transfer the pancakes to plates.

• Immediately after the pancakes come off the griddle, spread some sweet lemon butter over them and spoon on some of the warm melted raspberries and the accumulated raspberry syrup, then serve. Repeat to make and serve more pancakes.

THE ROAD TEST

 

curtis stone ricotta pancakes
The finished (slightly burnt) homemade product.

Ingredients

It’s not raspberry season so I had to use frozen, defrosted on paper towels. If I’d used fresh, this recipe would have gobbled up $18 worth of raspberries on last summer’s prices. If I’m spending that, I’m going to use the good butter, adding another $8.

Difficulty

Three components, but nothing tricky apart from the whisking by hand which takes energy and a bit of technique, including: room temperature eggwhites, a dry, clean round metal bowl (ideally) and balloon whisk, and whisking from the wrist (don’t use your whole arm) in small vertical circles to get air into the whites. Use your whole arm and you’ll need a lie down half way through.

Appearance

Cooked to the recipe at three minutes on each side, they tasted great but looked a little burnt.

The downside

You’re making three things: raspberry sauce, lemon butter and pancakes which need to be cooked in batches. You’re also whisking egg whites and sugar till stiff, by hand. And there’s at least 25 g of sugar per person. Oh, and unless you eat them smothered in lemon butter, you’ll barely use half the quantity.

Time

Forty-five minutes including cooking.

The recipe takes 45 minutes to make all up.
The recipe takes 45 minutes to make all up.

Ingredient cost 

Using fresh raspberries and top quality ingredients, $48 or $12 per person. Using frozen raspberries and cheaper ingredients, $24 or $6 per person.

This recipe could serve 6 but nominates it is for four.

Cleanup quotient

Quite high for breakfast. But then, isn’t that why we have kids?

The verdict

Delicious, lovely caramelised exterior, light, fluffy innards; the raspberries and lemon are a beautiful complement.

Occasion

Breakfast for a birthday.

Would I make it again

Maybe, if I needed to bribe someone to do something around the house.

Buy the book?

Absolutely. It’s a terrific book of inspiring recipes from celebrated chefs, best when they’ve gotten into the spirit and really given up simple recipes they like to cook at home. Perfect inspiration for keen but jaded home cooks.

SUNDAY-BEST-HOME

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