Tag Archives: family

Breakfast in Bed: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes 10

Post by Alison Hein.

Remember those Lemon Ricotta Pancakes I was talking about recently? A friendly stranger told me about the most divine lemon ricotta pancakes she had enjoyed at the Stoneacre Pantry in Newport, Rhode Island, and I used that info as inspiration to make Lemon Ricotta Egg Cups . This past week, I decided to give the pancakes a shot. At issue? I hadn’t exactly seen or tasted these illustrious flapjacks. No matter. I just made something up. :-)

There is something about the combination of tart and tangy citrus with fresh, creamy ricotta that is almost impossible to get wrong (that was my hope at any rate). I decided to make my batter a little sweeter than usual, to offset the sharp lemon flavor. And, because the ricotta tends to make the batter a little thinner than regular pancakes, so that it spreads, crêpe-like, in the pan, I cooked them a bit longer at a slightly lower flame height. Since these were special hotcakes, I made a simple syrup, substituting lemon juice for water. Just a touch goes a long way due to the intense, concentrated citrus flavor of the syrup. (Use any extra to sweeten and lemonize hot or iced tea in one fell swoop!)

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes 6

The result? Aerated, fluffy hotcakes infused with a little zing for a zesty breakfast in bed. Someday I’ll have to go to Stoneacre Pantry for a tasting and to see if I’ve come anywhere close to the original. ;-)

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes 

1 lemon
2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups milk
2 eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons (one half stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus additional for cooking

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes 1

Preparation

Zest and juice the lemon. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Gradually whisk in milk, then the eggs one at a time, then the lemon juice and zest, mixing well after each addition. Gently stir in ricotta cheese. Slowly add melted butter to batter. The batter should be thick, smooth and creamy.

Place a pan or griddle on the stove over medium heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan for the first pancake and reduce heat to medium low. Ladle batter into pan and cook until small bubbles appear throughout pancake, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip once with spatula and continue cooking until golden brown, another minute or two. Adjust heat and add butter as needed while cooking. Serve hot with lemon syrup.

Makes 8 to 10 4-inch pancakes.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes 7

Lemon Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice

Preparation

Pour sugar into a small heavy saucepan. Add lemon juice and mix well. Place over medium-high to high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until syrup is thickened. Set aside to cool.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes 12

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Breakfast in Bed – Kaiserschmarrn

Kaiserschmarrn 8

Post by Alison Hein.

My sweet little German cousin Nina recently visited us with her charming boyfriend, Michael. Two weeks after their departure, I received a large, intriguing envelope postmarked Munich. Inside I found Grandma’s German Cookbook by Birgit Hamm and Linn Schmidt, which contains an extensive and authentic array of traditional recipes. Nina and Michael had also annotated, peppering the pages with bits of information, advice, and favorites. Smack in the center of the book was Kaiserschmarrn – a much beloved Austrian and Bavarian indulgence, and one which I had not considered in quite some time.

Kaiserschmarrn 1
Etymology for this butter-crisped, shredded pancake is interesting. Kaiser for emperor, and schmarrn for a word which means mishmash, or mess. Stories abound regarding how this dish came into being, but I prefer to think of it as a happy accident – a crêpe gone awry, miraculously rescued by an innovative (or desperate!) chef and transformed into a delicacy fit for a king.

Crisp, beaten egg whites aerate the batter and keep the Kaiserschmarrn light. Use a gentle hand folding them into the somewhat thick batter to retain the airiness. There are many variations to this delectable recipe – replace cream with milk for a thinner result, or add extra sugar to the batter for a cake-like feel. Serve with fruit, or sweet sauce; soak the raisins in apple juice instead of rum; or dust the Kaiserschmarrn with sugar and caramelize it under the broiler. Or, perhaps best of all, dress your crispy Kaiserschmarrn with powdered sugar and eat it straight from the pan for a breakfast in bed that’s fit for a king.

Kaiserschmarrn 2

Ingredients
¼ cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon rum
3 eggs, separated
½ cup heavy cream
¾ cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Kaiserschmarrn 4

Preparation

Place golden raisins into a small bowl. Cover with rum and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes.

In large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, heavy cream, flour, sugar and salt until thick and smooth. Fold beaten egg whites gently into batter.

Kaiserschmarrn 6

Place a 12–inch diameter heavy frying pan on stove over medium heat. Add butter to pan. When melted, pour in batter to cover. Sprinkle rum-soaked raisins on top. Continue to cook over medium heat. When batter begins to set, gently tear and push apart the dough (using a wooden spatula) into bite-sized pieces. Flip pieces to cook other side. Cook until lightly browned and crisped. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Makes 1 Kaiserschmarrn; or 2 servings.

Kaiserschmarrn 11

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Breakfast in Bed – Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter

Post by Alison Hein.

Before we let go of autumn and plunge into winter’s chilly arms, why don’t we briefly revisit the harvest with some old-fashioned, homey Pumpkin Butter? A jar of this sweet spread is a time capsule that will bring you back to days past as you enjoy its cozy, pumpkin pie flavors. Make your own flavorful purée by roasting or steaming fresh pumpkins, or use a pre-packaged can for a quick, easy delight.

Pumpkin Butter

It’s “butter” only in the sense that it is spreadable. Pumpkin purée, brown sugar and pie spices thicken up and colors darken as they cook into a “shmearable” substance, just right for a slice of hearty toasted bread. Or, try a spoonful of Pumpkin Butter stirred into some hot oatmeal for a delicious diversion. You may also like it scooped on top of some freshly baked waffles, or even mixed into a dish of plain yogurt. Packed neatly into a glass mason jar, pumpkin butter makes a lovely gift as well.

Years ago, many families prepared and canned their own pumpkin butter. In recent years, however, the USDA warns against canning pumpkin (and other squash varieties) due to the low acid content of the vegetable. While some people still preserve pumpkin butter, adding lemon juice or vinegar to raise the acidity levels, I think it best we follow the guidance of the USDA and simply eat it immediately – spread, scooped or stirred – for an old-fashioned, homey breakfast in bed.

Pumpkin Butter

Ingredients

1 15-ounce can (or 2 cups fresh) pumpkin purée
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pumpkin Butter

Preparation

Combine pumpkin purée, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and vanilla in small heavy saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, then cook until thickened and flavors are melded, stirring occasionally, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool, and place in jar. Use immediately, freeze, or refrigerate and use within one week.

Pumpkin Butter

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Breakfast in Bed – Lemon Ricotta Egg Cups

Lemon Ricotta Egg Cups

Post by Alison Hein.

For several months now, I’ve enjoyed making the crisp, salty Prosciutto Egg Cups my friend Michele told me about. So much so, in fact, that I wanted to experiment with the recipe to change them up a little. What if I whisked eggs with some seasonings instead of cracking them whole into the center of the prosciutto?

Lemon Ricotta Egg Cups

I was fumbling with exactly how I should season these imaginary eggs – savory herbs? Spicy pepper? Perhaps some thin-sliced mushrooms? when I had an ‘aha’ moment. A friendly stranger told me about the most divine lemon ricotta pancakes she had enjoyed at the Stoneacre Pantry in Newport, Rhode Island. That was it! I would put an Italian slant on my whisked eggs, adding lemony ricotta cheese, a dash of parmesan, and a sprig of fresh, green basil.

The ricotta-laced eggs emerged from the oven all puffed up and popover like – their warm insides a delightful cheesy fluff; a savory cheesecake. The salty exterior provided a crispy counterpoint to the delicate melt-in-your-mouth middle. If you decide to make your egg cups without their prosciutto wrapper, be sure to add a generous amount of salt to the egg mixture before baking or they may taste a bit bland.

Lemon Ricotta Egg Cups

And, if you’re wondering about those divine pancakes, well, frankly, so am I. On to the next experiment, and hopefully, the next divine breakfast in bed.

Ingredients

Cooking spray
2 pieces prosciutto
2 eggs
¼ cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Lemon Ricotta Egg Cups

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray (for as many eggs as you plan to make). Arrange a piece of prosciutto in each muffin cup, wrapping around the sides and covering the bottom to form a closed bowl.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk until thick and frothy. Stir is ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth and pour egg mixture into prosciutto-lined muffin cups. Grind some fresh black peppercorns onto the top of the egg mixture. Place in oven and bake for around 20 minutes until egg is cooked firm. Carefully scoop out eggs with a large spoon. Garnish with fresh basil and serve hot.

Makes 2 servings.

Lemon Ricotta Egg Cups

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Breakfast in Bed – Kelsey’s Caramelized Banana French Toast

Caramelized Banana French Toast 10

Post by Alison Hein.

My daughter-in-law, Lesley, and her friends requested that I host a Girl’s Night movie screening of the 1987 film Overboard, one of my all-time favorites. Movie night rapidly escalated to include a nautical-themed dinner, replete with a giant sushi boat, napkins folded into little sailboats and personalized life preserver place cards. We made banana boats for our post-movie dessert. Given the late hour and minor excesses, our action-packed evening morphed into a pajama party.

In the morning, I persuaded Lesley’s friend Kelsey to make breakfast (Kelsey is terrifically talented and wonderfully creative in the kitchen). She politely agreed, and embarked on a quick tour of my pantry. Kelsey pulled a loaf of sweet brioche from my freezer, grabbed a few bananas from the fruit bowl, and began assembling an egg-rich French toast inspired by Ina Garten. When the toast was cooked to a buttery gold, Kelsey placed it in a slow oven to keep warm. She then used the same pan to toast the walnuts, and simmer a lightly-rummed sauce into a bubbling glaze for the banana topping.

Caramelized Banana French Toast 3

Our dessert reprised, Kelsey’s caramelized banana breakfast in bed was a sweet culmination of our Overboard extravaganza.

Ingredients

1½ cups milk
6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon caramel topping
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 loaf sliced brioche bread
¼ cup walnuts
1½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon rum
2 bananas, peeled and sliced into ½-inch thick rounds

Caramelized Banana French Toast 6

Preparation

Preheat oven to 250°. Add milk, eggs, vanilla, caramel topping and salt to large bowl. Whisk together until thick and smooth. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Dip bread slices into the egg mixture, turning gently to completely saturate. Add bread slices to pan and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, adding up to 2 additional tablespoons of butter as needed. Place French toast on a large flat baking tray and place in oven to lightly firm while making the caramelized banana topping.

Carefully wipe out pan, and place over medium heat. Add walnuts to pan, and cook for a few minutes until lightly toasted. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. When butter is melted, use the back of a wooden spoon to stir in the brown sugar and rum. Add banana slices and continue to cook, stirring often to coat, until fruit is cooked through and topping is lightly browned and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove toast from oven and place on large platter. Cover evenly with banana topping and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Caramelized Banana French Toast 11

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