Creativity is a universal language. I’m teaching my boys young.

Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce

Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce

Inspired by Sarabeth's in Manhattan, NY. 

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Welcome to my new brunch series, a collaboration with my dear friend, Genevieve Padalecki, of Now and Gen

It was in NY, years ago (not too many years, of course) that I met Genevieve for the first time. I was visiting my best friend, Kelly, who was a freshman at NYU. Gen and Kelly shared an apartment and had become wonderful friends. It was only natural for Gen and I to become the same. We were barely 21, young, wild, and free, exploring the island of Manhattan like we owned it. Bright lights, music, dancing, culture, shopping, and the search for the perfect diner that was still serving breakfast at 2 AM. I still remember sitting at the table with those two, a massive plate of syrup drenched pancakes in front of us, laughing as we recapped the evening’s events. It was the best of times. Gen and I have stayed friends ever since.

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I made it back to New York City recently, with my husband and kids. It was the week before Christmas. The streets and buildings were garnished with ribbons, lights, and ornaments. Trees were on every corner. People were hustling about, trying to finish their holiday shopping as a light snow fell from the gray sky. My husband and I were trying our best to navigate the busy city, with an enthusiastic 8 year old and two cranky toddlers. Were we out of our minds, bringing young kids to NY, during the busiest time of the year? Probably. But I love NY, and chaos aside, I was determined to share that love with my husband and kids.

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We spent the morning exploring Central Park, walking several miles. The city was different now. Tangled up in three little boys, I was not quite young, wild and free. More like mid-thirties, exhausted, and covered in toddler snot. No longer was I searching for the late night diners, but instead, a place that had a kid’s menu and would fit our double stroller.

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The weather had turned and we were tired, hungry, and in desperate need of a break. A pancake (and mimosa) break. Not sure what it is about New York, perhaps it goes back to those carefree nights with my girls, it makes me crave pancakes. We fell upon Sarabeth’s, on Central Park South. My craving was satisfied and a whole new obsession with pancakes was born.

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Steps from Central Park, right near the historic Plaza hotel, Sarabeth’s is a New York gem. Serving American contemporary food, with several locations throughout the city, Sarabeth’s is cozy, warm, inviting, and bonus, very kid-friendly. Known for their decadent Sunday brunch, their menu does not disappoint. Indulge yourself in short rib hash, pumpkin waffles, pork and apricot sausage, and my absolute favorite: lemon ricotta pancakes. They’re amazing.

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I’ve tried many times to recreate their lemon ricotta pancake recipe, and I may have just done it. Sarabeth serves the dish with blackberries, but I chose a homemade strawberry sauce. I love the combination of strawberry and lemon. But of course, pure maple syrup would be delicious as well. Top these perfectly fluffy pancakes with fresh whipped cream and enjoy with a strawberry mimosa.

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One of my favorite treats for Sunday brunch, bringing back all kinds of memories…

Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce

* Serves 4-6

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature (I used 2%)

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature (use full-fat)

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • ¼ tsp pure almond extract

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons)

  • 3 tsp fresh lemon zest (about 2 medium lemons)

  • Strawberry sauce, powdered sugar, maple syrup, and freshly whipped cream for serving

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.

  2. In another bowl, add the eggs. Beat lightly with whisk. Add the milk, ricotta cheese, vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon juice and zest. Whisk well to combine.

  3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix till just combined.

  4. Heat and butter a pan or griddle. Pour batter by ⅓ cupfuls, leaving space between. Cook for a 2-3 minutes, till small bubbles form, then flip. Cook for a few minutes more till golden brown.

  5. Serve warm, topped with strawberry sauce.

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Strawberry Sauce

* Makes about 2 cups

  • 3 cups of fresh or thawed frozen strawberries, roughly chopped

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • ½ tsp fresh lemon zest

  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, till it reduces by ⅓ and thickens to syrup consistency.

  2. Take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. As it cools it will continue to thicken. Add water by the teaspoon should it thicken too much.

  3. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.


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