When I was a kid we’d just leapfrog over the indulgence of Pancake Tuesday and run headlong into the abstinence and guilt of Ash Wednesday; followed by six weeks of deprivation.
This seems grossly unfair in hindsight, but at the time we didn’t know that a day of nutella and the dairy fat of your choice on golden wheaty orbs was supposed to be the precursor to six weeks of lenten withholding. Whether it was a generational or an Australian cultural blip I don’t really know. Maybe my mother just couldn’t bear the thought of pumping out pancakes for eight children, but I don’t think the Dowd family at the end of the street had them either. And there were only three of them.
Interestingly, in my adult years I’ve abandoned the lenten pledge but am determined to “keep traditions strong” and “protect important anthropological rituals” by eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. I have some gaps in my pancake consumption after all.
In the world of pancakes there are many different takes. My favorite version, and one which is largely making up for earlier omissions, is really more of a hot cake than a pancake. Beautifully light with ricotta and egg whites conspiring to make you feel you’re just eating air. And there’s not a single calorie in air. Or a single sin. Is there.
Eat with impunity, and lashings of cream.
Saintly Ricotta Pancakes
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup ricotta
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs (whites + yolks separated)
Pinch of salt
1. Pop ricotta, milk and egg yolks in a mixing bowl & mix lightly.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the ricotta mixture and mix until just combined.
4. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold through the batter in two batches, (using a large metal spoon).
5. Heat some butter and drop spoonfuls, cooking until brown and golden
6. Serve with mashed banana or butter, lemon and cinnamon sugar, or jam and cream. Or nutella.