Sunday, October 7, 2012

End of the Season Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Frosty nights have set in and the longterm forecast predicts rain for next weekend, so today is likely to have been the last Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market of the season. Many thanks to Sweetwater Farm and Fair Valley Farm for bringing us their delicious foods all summer long and ensuring a successful third season for the market. If you were lucky enough to pick up some of Sweetwater Farm's jam (or better yet, earn a jar through their punchcard system), here is a recipe for cottage cheese pancakes onto which you can slather their fine preserves.

These pancakes are an old family specialty. They are not just regular pancakes with a dollop of cottage cheese, but rather a heaping amount of cottage cheese with a sprinkle of flour. The recipe comes from Michael Fields, a chef my mother admired in the 1970's, but who died early in life, likely from the quantity of butter and eggs he consumed while testing his recipes. These pancakes, for example, called for a dozen eggs and a stick and a half of butter. Our family's version scaled these back, but we kept Fields' recommended toppings of jam and powdered sugar. Sweetwater Farm's strawberry preserves made these an extra treat.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
makes about 24 pancakes

16 oz. cottage cheese
3 eggs
2 Tbsp butter for the batter and more for cooking the pancakes
1/2 cup flour
pinch salt
jam and powdered sugar for topping

1. Melt the butter in a large batter bowl. Mix in the cottage cheese and then the eggs. Lightly incorporate the flour and salt.

2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt a small pad of butter across the surface of the skillet and then spoon out  a tablespoon at a time of batter, evenly spaced. This batter takes a little longer to cook than regular pancakes and it works best if you keep the pancakes on the smallish side (about 2 1/2 inches in diameter). Watch them carefully. When ready to flip, the batter should take on a slightly darker, less shiny sheen, and bubbles at the edges should remain fixed. When you flip the pancakes, they should be nicely browned. Cook them on the second side until they are similarly browned and then transfer to a warm serving plate or a baking sheet in a low oven while you cook the rest.

3. Serve warm with fruit jam (I recommend Sweetwater Farm's strawberry spread) and a dusting of powdered sugar.

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