There is a very Asian belly in me. Breakfast to me is a bowl of congee, kaya toast or noodles. Since going low carb however, it is usually eggs or low carb bread or a salad. Kid #2 has a strong predilection for pancakes, waffles and drop scones, which is what we ended up with this morning on a public holiday.
Most friends would know I have been slightly Instant Pot-obsessed since this baby arrived last month. This 7 function multi cooker has had its paces tested – well, at least the pressure cooker, sauté and boil functions! But one of the things that the Instant Pot community raves about is making yoghurt. I don’t really eat yoghurt as it is relatively high carb although it is sometimes incorporated into my desserts (but really rarely). So I never thought I would use the yoghurt function for the pot. Yet I was deeply intrigued when I came across an Instant Pot Ricotta cheese recipe online, which by all accounts, can make you whole milk ricotta in less than an hour. Well, Singapore is an island nation with zero agriculture and food is all imported, so a lot of dairy products like cheese and cream are not cheap, and ricotta cheese usually goes for $10-15 per teeny tub. So this experiment instantly appealed to the frugal “aunty” in me.
So I decided to merge the Instant Pot Ricotta Cheese recipe and an Epicurious Ricotta Cheese recipe in my maiden attempt to make cheese. And of course I managed to dig out a ricotta pancake recipe from a low carb website to make brunch for the family.
Making the ricotta was ridiculously easy. I confess some moments of nervousness as I couldn’t really see the milk solids forming initially. But they did eventually as the sieving process progressed.
Kid#2 was roped in to make the ricotta pancakes, which went pretty well until I discovered she had substituted the baking powder for baking soda. After which she stomped off to her room in a huff. Sigh. The teenage hormones have been flying recently and I didn’t duck fast enough this time. Even the votive offering of golden brown ricotta pancakes could not tempt her out of the fortress of her room. ☹️
The only bright side about this was that I actually spent time reading about the difference between baking soda and baking powder (a happy geek moment). So baking soda is sodium bicarbonate alone, and reacts to acid in the recipe. Only a little is needed to work as any excess may leave a slightly chemical aftertaste in the mouth. Baking powder, on the other hand, is a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar and corn starch, which means that the acidic component (cream of tartar) reacts to the alkaline baking soda component, and is used in cases where there is no acidic component in the rest of the recipe. Luckily for me there was some lemon juice in the pancake recipe, which is why the pancakes turned out pretty decent in the end, with no weird aftertaste.
So here is the low carb ricotta pancake recipe with homemade Instant Pot ricotta cheese made from scratch. The process was stupidly simple but I did get an awesome sense of achievement from it! 😁👍
Clockwise from top left: fresh ricotta after straining solids with a cheesecloth; ricotta pancakes in a pan; ricotta pancakes served warm with a dollop of butter and a drizzle of sugar-free maple syrup.
Fresh Ricotta Pancakes
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 150g homemade ricotta cheese
- 80g almond flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp baking powder (not soda)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2-3 tbsp butter for frying
- Place the cream and milk in the instant pot and close the pot, putting the valve on “venting” position.
- Press the “yoghurt” button, then the “adjust” button till the machine registers “boil” function.
- The program for yoghurt boil will last about 20 minutes. When it stops, remove the pot and stir in the salt with a wooden spoon.
- Then slowly add in the lemon juice slowly, stirring gently and thoroughly for the next 5 minutes or so. Tiny curd pieces will start to form.
- Line a sieve with a muslin or cheesecloth and set over a bowl. Carefully pour the milk mixture through the cloth and sieve, allowing it to sit for the next 15 minutes.
- With the wooden spoon, carefully scrape down the sides of the cloth sieve, then overturn the cloth and newly formed ricotta cheese onto a shallow bowl. Set aside to use for the pancakes; the remainder can be kept in the fridge for 3 days.
- Add the eggs, ricotta, lemon, almond flour, vanilla essence and baking powder into a food processor/blender and mix.
- Set the batter aside for about 10 minutes.
- Heat up a non-stick skillet and place about 1 tbsp of butter into the pan. When the butter is melted, pour in a scoop of pancake batter. You can put into 2 – 3 scoops of batter to make 2-3 pancakes at a time, depending on the size of your own.
- Turn the pancakes over (needs approximately 2 minutes per side on low heat). Remove from pan when browned on both sides.
- Add 1 tbsp butter to the pan each time the pan becomes very dry. Continue to make the pancakes in the skillet – this recipe should make at least 12 pancakes.
- Serve warm with butter and sugar free pancake syrup or maple syrup.