After that taxing week at work, I set off of on a relaxing four day weekend. Even though I only set off en route for my kitchen, it provided me with the adequate respite. To start off my relaxation crusade, I decided to make Bill Granger’s famed Ricotta Hotcakes, and although the recipe was accompanied by instructions on how to make honeycomb butter, I decided to use the fresh honeycomb I purchased at the recent Pyrmont Grower’s Market instead.
These hotcakes almost never happened and it all began at the aforementioned markets. I was at the Formaggi Ocello stand waiting to buy a tub of their beautiful ricotta; but there was a lovely yet vexingly talkative woman that was occupying all of this poor shopkeeper’s attention. I waited patiently, and waited some more, but still this woman kept complaining about the state of olives in this country or something of the like. While I lingered, impatiently tapping my foot on the rain-soaked grass, I thought- this is a woman who desperately needs a blog of her own. Instead of airing her complaints to stallholders at markets and holding up unsuspecting clientele, she should redirect her whingeing elsewhere, like on a blog!
In any case, I ummed and ahhed about whether I should stay and tolerate these irritating complaints, or whether I should just leave and make a go of the hotcakes another time. Suffice to say, I did stay and it was worth all the standing around and enduring the whining.
The hotcakes proved ethereally fluffy and the ricotta added a slight tanginess similar to what you would get with buttermilk pancakes, without all the density. I cut a few chunks of Leatherwood Honeycomb and placed them atop a stack of hotcakes and drizzled some honey over. This was a great variation on the customary maple syrup that I usually drench all my pan/hot cakes in. I cannot imagine having these hotcakes with anything else, and although I have never tried these hotcakes with any other condiments I will be hesitant to in the future as the taste of Leatherwood Honey is matchless.
Unique to Tasmania, Leatherwood honey is made from the flowering blossoms of the Leatherwood tree. With slight floral notes and spicy tinges, the honey is an acquired taste, and it is not to everyone’s likings. Oddly enough most Australians do not abide by its taste. I however was willing to give this seemingly difficult-tasting honey a go, and the result was a favourable one. Unlike many others I enjoyed the taste; sure it smelt a bit unusual, and it did taste of nectar at first. But different shouldn’t instinctively mean “bad”. The man who sold me the honeycomb mentioned that Australians are apparently too used to the taste of gum honeys, so therefore Leatherwoods honeys have become the eccentric, second-best cousin to these familiar honey varieties. Nonetheless, I am partial when it comes to this honey, and I think it is partly because of the fact that it is unique to Australia. Don’t get me wrong I still love the typical gum honeys, but Leatherwood is definitely a special treat.
Below is Bill’s recipe for Ricotta Hotcakes, including the recipe for Honeycomb Butter. I did not know where to source sugar honeycomb so that is why I opted to use fresh honeycomb. Whether or not you have the honeycomb, be sure to give these hotcakes a bash. I am thinking of making them with some mashed bananas next time; possibly when the exorbitant price for bananas in Australia drop.
1 1/3 cups ricotta
¾ cup milk
4 eggs, separated
1 cup plain all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
Place ricotta, milk and egg yolks in a bowl and mix to combine.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the ricotta mixture and mix until incorporated.
Place egg whites in a dry clean bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.
Fold egg whites into the batter using a wide metal spoon. Do this in two batches.
Over a low to medium heat, lightly grease a large non-stick frypan with a small portion of butter.
Drop a ladleful of batter into the pan and cook for two minutes or until the edges have turned golden brown.
Flip the hotcakes over and fry until it is cooked through.
Transfer to a plate. Top with appropriate condiments and dust with icing sugar.
NOTE: Hotcake batter can be stored up to 24 hours covered, in the refrigerator.
250g unsalted butter, softened,
100g sugar honeycomb, crushed with a rolling pin
2 tbsp honey
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Shape into a log on a plastic wrap, roll, seal and chill in a refrigerator for 2 hours. Store leftover honeycomb butter in the freezer- it’s great on toast.