This recipe makes the lightest pancakes you’ve ever tasted. As Sue Conley writes: "I tossed many a pancake during my eleven happy years as a breakfast cook at Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkeley, CA. This is one of my favorite pancake recipes. You’d expect the cheese to make the pancakes heavy, but the opposite is true. During cooking, the cheese and egg whites work together to make these light. You can use cottage cheese or ricotta. Top them with seasonal fruit and these morning delights are a perfect wake-me-up for any season.
I co-founded Bette’s Oceanview Diner in 1982 with Bette and her husband, Manfred. When I left to start Cowgirl Creamery in 1993, the first cheese we developed was Clabbered Cottage Cheese and Bette used our cheese at the diner for the Cottage Cheese Pancakes which became a popular “Tuesday Special”. The pancakes were greatly enhanced by using the luscious Cowgirl Creamery Clabbered Cottage Cheese. Seriously, it made a huge difference.
This recipe was inspired by Bette Kroening’s memories of kosher dairy restaurants in New York City. Bette and I wrote The Pancake Handbook with our very clever friend, Steve Siegelman, who helped us to create lively and personal narratives as we tested all of our favorite recipes at the diner. The Pancake Handbook is one of my finest achievements. It was a true collaboration between the three authors with help from the good cooks at Bette’s Oceanview Diner. - Sue Conley (Co-Founder)
1 pint fresh fruit, such as berries or sliced nectarines in summer, figs in fall (or frozen fruit anytime)
1/2 cup sugar
6 eggs, separated
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups full-fat cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Vegetable oil for the griddle
Crème fraîche for accompaniment
- In a medium pan, toss the berries and sugar over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick. Add the milk and beat for another 30 seconds. Gently fold in the cottage cheese.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and sugar and pour into the cheese mixture, stirring lightly.
- With an electric mixer or whisk, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they are stiff but not dry. (A helpful rule of thumb: The egg whites' stiffness should match the consistency of the ingredients you fold them into; a heavy cake batter should get stiffer egg whites than a light, more liquid pancake batter.) Gently fold the whites into the batter, just until combined. It’s okay if the batter is lumpy.
- Heat a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over medium- to medium-high heat. Ladle 1/4 cup/60 ml of the batter onto the hot griddle for each pancake, leaving space between pancakes. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes, then flip. Hold pancakes on a rack in a low oven (200°F) until ready to serve. It’s okay that the pancakes deflate on the plate. They should be lighter than air even though they present as thin, flat pancakes on the plate.
- When done, spoon on fruit and crème fraîche and serve.