Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

With out wedding taking place tomorrow, this week has been a whirlwind of activity. Friends and family started to arrive in New York last Sunday and throughout the week more and more people joined them. People have come from faraway places like France, Sweden, and Cyprus or Los Angeles, San Diego, and Indianapolis.

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One of Steve’s colleagues, who recently got married, told him that one of the coolest and strangest things about your wedding is seeing all of your friends and family in one room at the same time. We’re already having that feeling ourselves. The fact that people have made the effort to take planes, trains, and cars to be here with us makes us feel happy and humbled and grateful.

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We are so overwhelmed by all this that we almost forget that tomorrow we’ll be married. There is so much riding on that simple word “wedding.” There are the legal implications, the political issues, the social debates, the catering decisions, the flower choices. But in the end there’s really just this: a celebration. A reason to come together and acknowledge and share the love between two people with those who are important in their lives.

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And at the end of this celebration is marriage. For all the ways to describe a marriage, a good and happy one, here’s one that already describes ours. A sunny Saturday morning, sitting at the table, still groggy from a good night’s sleep, ready to eat our lemon ricotta pancakes, and then go out, together, to make the day or own.

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes – Very slightly adapted from Chow.com

Makes about 16 3.5 inch pancakes

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for coating the frying pan and serving
1 cup whole milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon packed finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
Powdered sugar, fruit, or maple syrup, for serving (optional)

1. Place butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until butter has melted; remove from heat and let cool slightly.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; set aside.

3. Place egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle ] in a quarter of the milk-butter mixture while whisking constantly (to temper the eggs), then whisk in the remaining milk-butter mixture until smooth.

4. Add the reserved flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not overmix); set aside.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites to soft peaks. Halfway through whisking them, sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using the rubber spatula, fold the whites into the reserved batter until just combined.

6. Gently fold the ricotta into the batter, being careful not to break down the texture of the cheese (the batter will be lumpy and streaked with ricotta); set aside.

7. Heat a large nonstick frying pan, griddle, or seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot, about 4 minutes. Test to see if the pan is hot enough by sprinkling a couple of drops of cold water in it: If the water bounces and sputters, the pan is ready to use.

8. Lightly coat the pan’s surface with butter, then use a 1/4-cup measure to scoop the batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles form on top of the pancakes, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until the bottoms are golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve immediately with powdered sugar, fruit, butter, or maple syrup.

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