Maybe because last week was full of so much “college readiness” song and dance (including confusion, debate, and of course, finally mandates at the faculty meeting as to exactly where teachers had to place the placard showing our own “educational journey”– in our room? by the door? outside the door?), and definitely because I just read this great interview with two of my friends I used to share poems with, I have been nostalgic for my time back in Annandale.  Since I don’t have any recipes involving large quantities of Carlo Rossi wine, I didn’t think this reminiscing would end up here.

Then I woke up with a craving. 

One favorite tradition a couple of us shared (and always required convincing the rare friend with a vehicle to drive us off campus– making it extra-special) was breakfast at a little diner outside of Red Hook called Another Roadside Attraction.  The thing to eat there was a raspberry pancake.  I really cant figure out if this place still exists, but it certainly does in my mind.

This is not the recipe, or even a serious attempt at replication.  But it is inspired by the sweet-tart buttery berry-filled plate-sized pancake that just hit the spot on a chilly morning.  Along with several cups of coffee and a drive through apple orchards down country roads, of course.

The difference is the addition of dark rye, a wonderful toasted flavor.  I also added a little lemon and orange zest, and a not insignificant amount of ricotta.  But the pancakes remain impressively light and fluffy, since the egg whites are folded in.  I dont normally blog about recipes I have only made once, but these were spot on fabulous pancakes.  I dare say you could judge new recipes by the same admirable qualities Stuart applies to poems, (quoting Elizabeth Bishop): “Accuracy, Spontaneity, Mystery.”  If that is going too far, you could just eat these and then surely write some robust poems.

I promise a post with a vegetable soon (I do not just eat calas and pancakes!), but grant me (and yourself, if you know what’s good for you) this indulgence on a Sunday morning.  I should be on a ladder finishing the painting, but instead I am making an obscene number of pancakes.  Luckily, they freeze well layered with parchment and double bagged, so now I can have breakfast for dinner later in the week.

Inspired by everything mentioned above, as well as Food and Wine, and Yankee Magazine’s recipe from the 1700’s for rye pancakes. 

Raspberry Rye Pancakes

1 cup rye flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 large eggs, separated

1 3/4 cups milk

6 ounces ricotta cheese (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons)

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

zest of one small lemon and one small orange

Unsalted butter, for the griddle

1 bag frozen raspberries, completely thawed and juice drained.

Pure maple syrup, for serving

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Sift or whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl.  Separate eggs and beat whites until soft peaks form.  In a large bowl (where the final batter will be) use the mixer to blend egg yolks, milk, ricotta, sugar, vanilla and zests.  Add the flour mixture and thoroughly combine.  Fold in the egg whites.  Scoop by 1/4-1/3 cup scoops onto a buttered medium-hot griddle.  Drop 2-3 raspeberries onto the pancakes while they cook– nestle them into the batter a little.  Flip when golden brown (2 minutes).  When the second side is golden, place them in the warm oven (this is key, as it helps any partially cooked batter around the berries to keep cooking).  Serve with butter and maple syrup.