Pumpkin Ricotta Pancakes

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Pillowy pumpkin pancakes that will remind you of pumpkin spice cake.

Pumpkin Ricotta Pancakes : The Wimpy Vegetarian

I used to thrive on change, even created it if need be, just so I could shake my life up a bit. But over time I settled into patterns, thinking consistency was better for my peace of mind, and that of those around me. Life as a popcorn kernel ricocheting off the lid of a pot over high heat isn’t restful for anyone, no matter how exciting all it all appears to be at the time.

As I deliberated on making these pumpkin pancakes this week, the old pull to shake things up raised its flirtatious head. I love pancakes with their pillow-soft texture, and slight chewiness as I bite into them, but frankly I settled into a way of making them long ago – down to my favorite well-seasoned griddle. I have rules. They must feature lemon zest and some kind of berry, a tradition that started in my cramped kitchen in college. Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, all fair game. Banana or pumpkin, no thank you.

But it’s Autumn, and the pumpkin seduction is on. They’re everywhere right now: in chili, muffins, cookies, and yes – pancakes. Photos abound in all my food magazines of little harvest moons stacked on a plate, with maple syrup and melted butter drizzling down their sides to form a sweet pool.

I felt the shift, a tentative movement at first, a letting go. Once I embraced the idea, it became easy to change a few more ingredients. I played with different flours and sweeteners. Before I knew it, I found myself sliding headlong into a complete transformation of my trusted recipe. With abandon I added spices, and then some cream cheese, nixed it, and scooped in some ricotta instead. I separated the eggs and whipped up the whites to a frothy foam. Three versions later, I sat down to fluffy, soft pancakes that tasted like Fall; a pumpkin spice cake drizzled with syrup and butter that melted in my mouth. Change is good.

It may be a long time before I make pancakes with zest and berries again.

Pumpkin Ricotta Pancakes Cut : The Wimpy Vegetarian

Pumpkin Ricotta Pancakes

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 10

  • 1 cup (4½ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (2¼ ounces) buckwheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp orange zest (approximately 1 orange)
  • 2 extra large eggs, separated
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup, Grade B
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree from a can or make your own
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and orange zest. Set aside.
  2. Separate the egg yolk from the egg white into two separate bowls. The yolk should be in a medium-large bowl. Whisk the yolk together with the maple syrup, buttermilk, melted butter, pumpkin, ricotta, and vanilla extract until completely combined.
  3. Add the dry mixture in thirds to the wet, and gently whisk together until a batter forms.
  4. Using a hand-held mixer, whip the egg whites to medium-firm stiffness. If you dip a beater into the frothy whites, and turn it upside down, the peak should droop just a little and hold. Fold the egg whites into the batter in halves using a spatula. There should be occasional pieces of egg white visible in the batter.
  5. Heat a griddle over medium heat. Melt a little butter on the griddle and pour the batter to form 4" pancakes. They will spread just a little, and this size is comfortable for flipping. Don't flip the pancakes until the sides are visibly firming up, and multiple holes appear in the batter, about 3 - 4 minutes. Flip and cook for another minute.
  6. Repeat until all the of the batter is cooked.
  7. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

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    • Rachael says

      I have poured over pumpkin ricotta pancake recipes all morning and I think your’s looks the most tempting to try for dinner tonight with a kids pajama and pancake playdate. I’ll let you know how they turn out and the responses. I’ll be using my own Buckskin pumpkin and goat cheese ricotta.

      • says

        Thanks so much Rachael! I hope you like them as much as we did :-). I confess I’m not familiar with Buckskin pumpkins, so now I need to do a little research. and I’ve never had goat cheese ricotta!! I love the idea of it – I’ll have to make some with goat milk to try it. Do you make your own? I honestly am not sure how the goat flavor will meld in, so I’d love to hear your thoughts when you make these.

      • says

        I just looked up Buckskin pumpkins, and they sound fabulous. I need to hunt one down next time pumpkins are at the market and see if I can snag one to try. It looks like they’re great in pies!!

        • Rachael says

          These turned out wonderfully! We loved them so much that we made a second round, double batch tonight!! I purchased the ricotta from my local farmer’s market. He has a small goat farm and makes wonderful cheeses. I keep asking him when he’s going to sell the milk, so we can make our own cheese. They were moist, fluffy and perfectly delicious. I did up the vanilla an extra teaspoon, only because I’m a huge fan and had recently made a big batch of it for Christmas. Also, I used 1 c. whole milk and 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar as the buttermilk substitute. They honestly were so good that we just sliced a few bananas and chopped some pecans for the topping instead of maple syrup and butter this go around. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipe with others.

    • says

      Thanks Erika!! I could definitely taste the difference with the ricotta – it makes the pumpkin flavor a little creamier without the cream, and it made a difference to the texture by making them less dense in general. I found the pumpkin to be a bit heavy without it.
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Pumpkin Ricotta PancakesMy Profile

  1. Rebecca says

    Hi! I found these pumpkin beauties on Foodgawker, and, man am I glad I did! Not only are your pictures great, but your writing is wonderful!! Thanks for a great food blog!


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