The Jew And The Carrot

The Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes of My Life

By Devra Ferst

  • Print
  • Share Share
Thinkstock

If the recipes of my life were bound into a book, surely the page for my dad’s ricotta pancakes would be the most well loved — splattered with old batter and lightly dusted in flour. It’s the recipe I reach for when I miss my childhood home or when I’m entertaining friends for brunch and when I can’t decide what to make — even if it’s dinner time.

The year I lived in Israel when I was 22 years old could easily be renamed “My Year in Pancakes.” Nearly ever Shabbat brought a different pancake recipe, many made in sparse kitchens without measuring cups or spoons. There were the lemon poppy seed pancakes that my roommate fell for, monkey cakes packed with chocolate, candied pecans and bananas devoured by my kibbutznik friends during gossip sessions the morning after a big party, and pear and strawberry pancakes made with supremely ripe fruit gathered right before the horn was sounded in Jerusalem’s market to announce the beginning of Shabbat. Since that year, I’ve flirted with pumpkin pancake recipes, chocolate chip and raspberry ones and countless others.

But I always return to my dad’s adaptation of the basic “Joy of Cooking” pancake recipe. The variations result in pillowy ricotta silver dollars, pierced with tart bubbling blueberries that I drizzle with maple syrup and eat while standing up in the kitchen, hot out of the pan with my fingers. It’s rare that they make it to the table. My dad, who taught me to cook, says he was inspired to create the recipe by the childhood memory of his grandmother Helen’s blintzes, which were stuffed with rich farmer’s cheese. Perhaps there’s some cosmic connection to Helen’s recipe — of all the family members, according to my dad, it is Helen’s mother Rebecca that I resemble the most.

Among the many times I find to eat these pancakes is the dinner right after Passover ends. They’re sweet, but not too much so for dinner. Light and fluffy, they are the perfect antidote the holiday of unleavened foods. But then again, I don’t really need an excuse to have them.

Walter’s Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes

Adapted from the “Joy of Cooking”

Cook’s note: If you buy ricotta packaged at a grocery store, reduced fat works well, fat free does not. But, whenever possible, make these with fresh, full fat ricotta from a cheese or specialty shop.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk, plus more for thinning
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound ricotta
1 box rinsed and dried blueberries

1) Mix all of the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) in a large bowl with a whisk. Set aside.

2) Combine milk, butter, egg yolks, vanilla and ricotta in another bowl and mix together with a whisk or fork, until the mixture has become a nice, thick and even liquid with no lumps.

3) Make a well in the dry ingredients bowl and pour in the wet ingredients, whisk together. If the mix looks too thick for your taste, add more milk gradually. (I usually add another quarter to half of a cup, as I like my pancakes fairly thin.)

4) Using a mixer, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.

5) Mix a small dollops of the egg whites into the batter. Once combined, begin folding in the remainder of the egg whites one scoop at a time, very gently, to keep the batter light. Repeat until all of the egg whites are folded in.

6) Heat a cast iron skillet with butter, once the pan is hot but not smoking, scoop in a quarter to a third of a cup of batter and turn the heat down to medium-high. Sprinkle blue berries on top of pancakes as they cook.

7) When medium sized bubbles form in the pancakes, flip them and cook for another minute or so.

8) When done, drizzle with maple syrup and eat standing up — or at the table, if you can wait that long.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: passover, pancakes, blueberry ricotta pancakes

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.