For many, many years I wrote pancakes off as an afterthought. An add-on item. Basically just a kids’ breakfast. What self respecting, grown adult orders a fat stack of fluffy cakes over a fancy omelette, Chilaquiles, or poached egg over braised greens with Calabrian chiles on a bed of polenta? It took getting schooled on the power of pancakes by a couple of kids to realize that I was acting childish and not giving pancakes the respect they deserve.
Recently, our cousins drove down from SF for a weekend visit. We had the best time playing fetch with Pixel in the backyard, exploring the Natural History Museum, picnicking at the beach while watching dolphins splash about and the best of all, making breakfast. Sekani is the king of pancakes, so he took the reigns and before I knew it, we were taking requests and cooking custom pancakes to order with all of the lil’ toppings imaginable.
As we buttered the pan and listened to the sizzle of the batter hit the hot skillet, I could sense we were onto something special. These pancakes had those lacy edges that turn slightly crispy as they cook. Each bite had a wonderful surprise; a burst of berry, chewy coconut or melty dark chocolate chips. These made to order pancakes and these innovative, nuevo-chefs are the next generation of breakfast.
I found myself craving those pancakes more than avocado toast and a poached egg. Thankfully, I’m a grown up and I can do what I want… and I want to make pancakes!!! So, here I am, in the kitchen and experimenting with all kinds of wild pancake concoctions. Gone are the olden days of Bisquick and Mrs. Butterworths. New pancakes are chic, refined and seasonal. With lacy edges, adult ingredients, and a wholelotta real butter, these pancakes are all grow’d up.
My recipe for Ricotta Chocolate Chip Pancakes & Blood Orange Compote is as playful as it is sophisticated. Light and fluffy pancakes evolve into velvety, rich stacks with the addition of fresh ricotta cheese. Dark chocolate chips bring a gleefully sweet element of surprise that contrasts with the bittersweet Blood Orange Compote made with a splash of Grand Marnier. These Ricotta Chocolate Chip Pancakes & Blood Orange Compote are the adult version of Mickey Mouse Pancakes. We’ve all grown up, it’s time our pancakes grow up with us.
- blood oranges - 6
- granulated sugar - 6 tablespoons
- water - 2 tablespoons
- agave syrup - 1 tablespoon
- Grand Marnier - 2 teaspoons
- pure vanilla extract - 1/2 teaspoon
- cinnamon - a dash
- all purpose flour - 1 cup
- granulated sugar - 2 tablespoons
- baking powder - 1 1/4 teaspoon
- baking soda - 1/4 teaspoon
- salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- blood orange zest, finely zested - 2 blood oranges
- ricotta - 1 cup
- butter - 2 tablespoons (+ more for frying)
- whole milk - 1 cup
- pure vanilla extract - 1/2 teaspoon
- dark chocolate chips - 1/2 cup
- Finely zest two of the blood oranges and set the zest aside for the pancakes.
- Squeeze the juice from two blood oranges, strain and set aside. Slice remaining 4 blood oranges into 1/4" thick pinwheels, slicing the peel and pith away from the edges. Set the pinwheels in a shallow dish while you prepare the blood orange caramel syrup.
- Add the sugar to a medium saucepan and gently pour in the water and agave syrup. With a wet pastry brush, brush down the sides of pan to be sure there is no sugar sticking to the sides. Turn the heat up the medium and bring to a boil, brush sugar down from the sides if necessary. Cook until the caramel turns from a deep gold into a rich amber and tons of tiny bubbles begin to form, swirling the pan if necessary (but not stirring).
- Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the fresh squeezed OJ, it will bubble up. Return to the heat and keep whisking to prevent the caramel from seizing up, until it has smoothed out and melted. Remove from heat and stir in the Grand Marnier, vanilla and cinnamon. Allow to cool and then pour over the blood orange pinwheels, chill or rest at room temperature.
- *The blood orange compote can be refrigerated for up to 2 days but it's best served on the day it's prepared.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the zest of two blood oranges.
- Beat the eggs with the ricotta, milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Combine the dry and the wet ingredients until just incorporated and is still a lumpy batter, do not to over mix.
- Heat some butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Spoon 1/3 cup of batter into the skillet and dot the top with dark chocolate chips, as desired. Cook for 2-3 minutes, flip and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Stack 'em high and top with Blood Orange Compote and a drizzle of the blood orange syrup.
- BLOOD ORANGE COMPOTE - adapted from NYT Blood Orange Compote recipe