Travis and I do not have TV (we have a TV, we just don't get TV), so it is a rare and special occasion when we get to watch The Food Network at his parent's house. I love cooking shows, and I have to admit, my guilty pleasure is "Cupcake Wars" which starts late on Sunday nights. When we were there a few weeks ago, however, we amused ourselves with watching several episodes of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives", where the host travels around the country sampling fare from many different local establishments. As we watched the chef of one restaurant prepare a few of his staple favorites, I was drawn in. Not only did he make his own fresh ricotta cheese, he then proceeded to make these amazing looking pancakes. I thought to myself, I can do that. So it promptly went on my menu. Now, I googled the combination and came up with many recipes, but I decided to try tweaking a fairly simple one that I discovered, appropriately enough, on the Food Network website.
Travis and I don't get to cook together very often- that is usually a luxury we enjoy on his day off, cooking breakfast together. So it was a special treat to whip up these scrumptious pancakes with him, laughing, blasting Keith Green music and inhaling delicious aromas of berries, coffee and bacon.
The pancakes were absolutely fantastic! I am not much of a pancake girl myself, but these are not any old pancakes. Although the recipe is very little altered from a traditional pancake mix and water regimen, the minor additions make a major difference. I am certain you could get crazy with making your own pancake mix from scratch (which, incidentally, isn't that difficult), but if you have a giant bag of Krusteaz in your pantry that needs to be used up (like I do), why would you? Anyhow, complicated or no, these beautiful pancakes are a winner in my book. The addition of ricotta cheese to the batter made the cakes light and creamy, almost melting in your mouth. The tang of the beautiful berries (blueberries would work just as well here, if you don't have huckleberries handy) kept it from being overly sweet, and the honey syrup...oh, the honey syrup!
While Travis flipped the flapjacks, I worked on the syrup which was suggested by the Food Network to pour over our pancakes. I was slightly skeptical, and ended up reading the recipe wrong (in my defense, it is written in a confusing way!) and had to make the whole thing over. But the end result was well worth it. Something about the honey perfectly complimented the other flavors. This recipe is definitely a keeper and one that would be just as well suited to a quiet weekend breakfast as a special brunch for company.
Huckleberry-Ricotta Pancakes with Honey Syrup
originally by Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network
serves about 4
1 2/3 cups water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups pancake mix (Krusteaz recommended)
1 cup ricotta cheese
2/3 cup frozen huckleberries (or blueberries)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
In small saucepan, dissolve sugar in 1/3 cup water over medium heat (about 5 min). Stir in honey and keep syrup warm.
Heat griddle to medium heat.
Stir 1 2/3 cups water and vanilla together in large bowl.
Add pancake mix and stir just until moistened but still lumpy.
Stir in ricotta, gently incorporating, but maintaining lumpy batter.
Fold huckleberries in gently.
Grease griddle lightly with butter or oil.
Working in batches, spoon 1/4 cup of batter onto griddle for each pancake.
Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with honey syrup.
Source: Food Network