How to make delicious ricotta pancakes

Written by Alice Porter

Looking for a new warming breakfast? You need to try this recipe for ricotta hotcakes (aka Granger & Co’s take on fluffy American pancakes).

As the days get shorter and colder, many of us will be craving comfort foods. It’s easy to resort to simple, boring meals in autumn and winter, as your motivation to cook might be faltering as the next episode of the current series you’re binging on Netflix calls you. But cooking yourself something delicious and warming and then cozying up to eat it is an amazing form of self-care. So why not start the day off with some self-love by making yourself a delicious breakfast?

Pancakes are probably one of the first meals that come to mind when we think about luxurious breakfasts. And for good reason – they’re not only a crowd-pleaser but there are endless ways you can switch them up by adding toppings and altering the recipe. However, as anyone who has tried to make pancakes before will know, they’re not quite as easy to perfect as they look. Getting your batter to the perfect texture and frying them for the right amount of time to avoid both soggy middles and burnt edges is a pretty rare feat, but one worth attempting for the finished product.

To help you achieve those perfectly-made fluffy pancakes, we’ve recruited the help of Bill Granger, the founder of Granger & Co, which is a London restaurant chain known for its mouth-watering breakfasts. Bill’s recipe is inspired by American breakfast pancakes, called hotcakes. 

The recipe incorporates ricotta – 2021’s rising star of brunch-able toast toppings over on TikTok. Adding it to your pancakes will keep them soft, smooth and help you to achieve that delicious fluffy texture. Bill combines the pancakes with honeycomb butter, making them perfect for people with a serious sweet tooth.

Here, Bill shares his ricotta hotcake recipe and his tips for achieving the perfect pancakes every time.

What you will need to make ricotta hotcakes

For the honeycomb

  • Light-flavoured oil for greasing 
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 75g golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda 

For the honeycomb butter

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened 
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey 
  • 90g honeycomb, above recipe or shop-bought, crushed 

For the hotcakes

  • 300g ricotta
  • 175ml milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 125g plain flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50g butter

To serve

  • Icing sugar
  • 1 banana, halved and sliced lengthways 

How to make ricotta hotcakes

To make the honeycomb:

  1. Lightly oil a 20cm cake tin. 
  2. Put the sugar and syrup in a heavy-based pan over medium-low heat. 
  3. Swirl the pan to dissolve the sugar, then stir with a spatula until all is dissolved – this might take 10-15 minutes, so be patient and do not let the mixture bubble at this stage. 
  4. Turn up the heat, use a sugar thermometer if you have one and heat the mixture to 155°C or until a dark amber caramel. 
  5. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the bicarbonate of soda until golden and foamy. Be careful not to overstir: you want to retain as much air in the mixture as possible. 
  6. Carefully pour into the tin. Leave to harden and cool for 90 minutes.
  7. Break into chunks and crush with a rolling pin.

To make the honeycomb butter:

  1. Blend the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Roll into a log, wrap in greaseproof paper and chill in the fridge for 2 hours. 

To make the hotcakes:

  1. Mix together the ricotta, milk and egg yolks. 
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into another bowl. Add the ricotta mixture and stir to combine. 
  3. Beat the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold into the batter in two batches with a large metal spoon. 
  4. Melt a little butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Add 2 tablespoons of batter per hotcake, cooking in batches.
  5. Cook over low-medium heat for 2 minutes, or until golden underneath. Turn and cook the other side until golden and cooked through. 
  6. Serve dusted with icing sugar, with sliced banana and honeycomb butter. 

Bill’s top tips for perfecting the hotcakes

Be careful with your flour

To ensure your pancakes are deliciously fluffy, it’s really important to choose the right flour and prepare it properly. “I use soft cake flour and I always double sift the flour and baking powder,” Bill says. 

Sifting helps to remove clumps from the flour, which form in unopened packages when the flour is exposed to air. If you don’t sift your flour, you could risk lumps forming in the pancakes or an inconsistent texture overall.

Don’t over mix your batter

Although it’s important to try to achieve a smooth batter, Bill stresses that you shouldn’t over mix it. “It will make the hotcakes tough and you really want them to be soft and fluffy,” he explains. 

It is important, however, to make sure your egg whites are firm by mixing them properly. “I like to fold them in two batches,” Bill says.

Prioritise the quality of the ricotta

Ricotta is the key ingredient in Bill’s hotcakes, so choosing the best you can find will really enhance the flavour of the dish. “I like Westcombe ricotta from Somerset,” Bill says. Although you won’t necessarily be able to taste the cheesey flavour of the ricotta in your pancakes, it will add an extra sweetness to them and it’s also key to their soft texture.

Images: Jonathan Gregson

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