The pancakes, unfortunately, weren't always consistent--it really depended on who was on the line during brunch service (and perhaps the level of hangover from the night before)--but when they were at their best, they were truly magical... a standard against which to measure any other pancake.
Here in Seattle, we've had some terrific brunches at places like Boat Street Kitchen, Geraldine's, and Tilth... but we haven't yet found pancakes that really satisfy the same way that Citron's did. So from time to time, we've experimented with making our own version. Some recipies relied exclusively on ricotta and whipped egg whites; others capitalized on the chemical interaction between buttermilk and baking soda and baking powder. Most of the time, these trials resulted in pancakes that were fine, sometimes even very good... but not quite at that "super special" level...
...until this morning.
The recipe we used is our adaptation of a winning recipe from a contest held by bedandbreakfast.com, relying on a combination of both the richness and activation power of buttermilk and the lightening power of folding in beaten egg whites. The main difference in our version is an increase in buttermilk and the omission of the citrus--I think lemon can be a great flavor addition, but the strength of the acid creates too much of a reaction with the baking soda and baking powder.
But I think the most important part of this recipe is the waiting time, which ensures that all of the baking powder and baking soda has sufficient time to react with the acids in the buttermilk; you can literally see a difference in the batter after letting it rest.
Try it out... you'll never think of buying packaged pancake mix again.
Buttermilk Ricotta Pancakes
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks, oil, buttermilk, ricotta cheese and vanilla extract. Whisk together until smooth.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together until flour is just incorporated.
In a small stainless steel bowl, beat egg whites just until stiff. Fold the egg whites into the batter just until incorporated. Let set for 10 to 15 minutes.
Spoon batter onto a lightly buttered pan or griddle over medium low heat. When bubbles lightly form and the bottom is set, flip gently (about 3-4 minutes). Pancake is ready when both sides are golden with barely crisp exteriors.
Serve with fresh fruit or maple syrup.