Sweet treats, such as the Polish doughnuts paczki, New Orleans-style beignets and Mardi Gras king cake, tend to draw most of the attention on Fat Tuesday, celebrated on the day before Ash Wednesday. It’s a last chance to indulge before the fasting days of Lent, and if you’re going to live it up with something full of fat and sugar, you might as well go big.
Another centurieslong tradition is pancakes, which also allow the faithful and those who are just plain hungry to use up their supply of butter, milk and eggs.
These light and airy pancakes are perfect for your Shrove Tuesday dinner on March 1. Fresh ricotta adds a creamy richness, and there’s also a kiss of citrus, thanks to the addition of lemon juice and zest. They’re also super easy to stir together, and who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?
Be sure not to overmix the batter (it will make your pancakes less fluffy), and always start with a hot pan. Don’t worry if the first batch isn’t perfect — it can take some practice for your flipping and gauging the proper heat.
I like them dusted with a little powdered sugar and a generous handful of fresh blueberries, but maple syrup works, too.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Makes about 20 pancakes.
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch of salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups whole milk
1 cup full-fat ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Juice from 2 lemons (¼ cup)
Zest from 1 lemon
Powdered sugar, for serving
Fresh blueberries, for serving
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and a large pinch of salt.
In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs with whisk until frothy, then add in the milk, ricotta and vanilla, gently beating until well combined. Stir this wet mixture into the dry ingredients, just until everything is combined. Quickly fold in the lemon juice and zest, stirring until evenly combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
Preheat a heavy, wide-bottomed nonstick pan or griddle over medium heat. (You’ll know it’s ready when a drop of water dances around the pan and then evaporates.) Lightly brush pan with a little melted butter, if desired.
Pour batter by ¼ cupfuls onto the hot pan or griddle, and gently spread into 3- to 4-inch circles. (Be careful to keep the pancakes separate.) Cook until small bubbles form and pop on top, and the edges look dry, about 2 minutes. Flip, then cook on the second side until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes more. Repeat with all pancake batter.
Serve pancakes immediately, with powdered sugar and blueberries sprinkled on top.