“Bencake” & Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

In the dead of winter, amidst the trudging through thick frost on snowy evenings, it can be heartwarming to open up a cookbook just to take a peek at summer recipes. For a break from hearty meat stews and oatmeal tiramisu, I thought I’d share two of the most successful pancakes recipes I concocted while working as a breakfast chef this past summer. While looking back at the two posts I did on my summer cooking at the Agrihotel Elisabetta in Tuscany, Italy, I realized that I never actually posted the pancake recipes I created.

The first is the classic “Bencake” recipe. This was my final version of the pancake recipe, and the one that customers enjoyed the most. I had to write it down on tiny notepads for customers begging for the recipe, and translate a few into Italian. It produces a light, fluffy pancake with a lot of moisture and flavor.

The second is the first pancake recipe that I went out with my first day on the job. This is one of my personal favorites. The combination of lemon and ricotta, common for pancake recipes, makes this pancake good enough to eat plain.

In the dead of winter, I thought it'd be nice to reflect back on those warm days flipping "bencakes" at the Agrihotel in Tuscany.

In the dead of winter, I thought it’d be nice to reflect back on those warm days flipping “bencakes” at the Agrihotel in Tuscany.

My first day on the job, flipping lemon ricotta pancakes in the Agrihotel kitchen.

My first day on the job, flipping lemon ricotta pancakes in the Agrihotel kitchen.

I did have to convert these from the metric scale, so do not be alarmed if you need to add a little more of dry or wet ingredients to the batter.

Bencakes

Level: Easy    Time: 15 minutes     Serves: 8

  • 1 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 3 medium Eggs (separated)
  • 2/3 cup Whole Milk
  • 1 tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 dash Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. Whisk in egg yolks, oil, vanilla, and half of the milk. Gradually whisk in the rest of the milk, adding flour if necessary to produce correct consistency (smooth, thick). In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on high with a pinch of salt until light, fluffy and stiff. Fold in beaten egg whites, leaving batter slightly lumpy.

Over medium heat, cook pancakes on buttered griddle, making sure to cook both sides golden brown. Serve warm with maple syrup, or get more creative with it! The pancake is the quintessential canvas of gastronomy. Paint with it.

This soon became on my most popular creations because of its artistic look. Bencake with mixture of fruits. I always used what was in season, and on hand. Here we have banana, peach, apple, frutti di bosco, and fig.

This soon became on my most popular creations because of its artistic look. Bencake with mixture of fruits. I always used what was in season, and on hand. Here we have banana, peach, apple, frutti di bosco, and fig.

A German inspiration. The combination of chocolate and apple in Germany is popular, so I put it in a pancake (with a slice of apricot and a drizzle of maple syrup).

A German inspiration. The combination of chocolate and apple in Germany is popular, so I put it in a pancake (with a slice of apricot and a drizzle of maple syrup).

I like to call this the "degustazione dei bencake" (the tasting of bencakes)

I like to call this the “degustazione dei bencake” (the tasting of bencakes)

"Bencake Pools"

“Bencake Pools”

Three Beauties Bencakes Agrihotel

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Level: Easy    Time: 20 minutes    Serves: 8

  • 4 medium eggs, separated
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 2 small Lemons (juice and zest)
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt

Add dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk wet ingredients together in another small bowl, except for the egg whites. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. In an electric mixer, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Fold into batter. Over medium heat, cook pancakes on buttered griddle, making sure to cook both sides golden brown. Serve warm with maple syrup, or with a combo of raspberry sauce, powdered sugar and chopped hazelnut.

I served the lemon ricotta pancakes with the raspberry sauce, hazelnut, mint, and powdered sugar.

I served the lemon ricotta pancakes with the raspberry sauce, hazelnut, mint, and powdered sugar.

 

2 responses on ““Bencake” & Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

  1. WOW……give me a half-dozen Lemon Ricotta Pancakes STAT! Bring the Oatmeal Tiramisu for Mrs. Rowan (sounds too healthy for me)

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