Combine the egg yolks, ricotta cheese, sugar, and orange zest in a medium bowl. Using a whisk or a mixer set on medium speed, beat for 2 minutes, or until creamy.
Sift the flour over the egg mixture. Using a large spoon or spatula, fold the flour into the egg mixture, being careful not to overmix or your pancakes will be tough.
In a bowl with the mixer set on high speed, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt for about 1 minutes, or until they hold stiff peaks. Whisk about one fourth of the egg whites into the ricotta mixture; then fold the remaining whites in gently but thoroughly.
Preheat a stove-top griddle or a skillet over medium heat, or an electric griddle to 400°F, testing to make sure it's hot enough for a drop of water to bounce on it.
Lightly butter the griddle. Using a ladle, form pancakes on the griddle, using 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook the pancakes until a few bubbles form on the surface of each one.
Flip the pancakes with a spatula and cook until golden brown ont he other side. Brush the finished pancakes with a little melted butter before serving.
Makes 12 pancakes
Raspberry Ricotta Pancakes Variation; Add 1 cup of raspberries to the batter, stir gently, and form pancakes, using about 1/4 cup batter per pancake.
Raspberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes Variation: Add 1 cup of raspberries to the batter, and substitute freshly grated lemon zest for the grated orange zest.
Reprinted with permission from ©Ron Silver, Bubby's Brunch Cookbook by Ron Silver, published by Ballantine Books.
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