I bet I am not alone in this, but one of my favorite things is to find some odd ingredient in the fridge and try to figure out what I can make that will use it up that does not include, say, buying another ingredient that I will only half-use to do so.
(This reminds me of when of the time we discovered that we had been joined by a roommate of the tiny, scampering variety, an evil one that outsmarted all traps put in its path, and many suggested that we get a cat to “get rid of it”. But then how to get rid of the cat problem, I always asked, and people shook their heads and clucked their tongues at me. Okay, perhaps this story isn’t an exact parallel after all…)
Among the many, many awesome things my apartment swap-ees left us in the fridge (Breton butter, cheese, homemade jam, oh, I’ll stop rubbing it in) they also left us stuff like cream cheese (which made for some wonderful frosting) and, well, a humble container of cottage cheese.
Now, I actually adore cottage cheese (though when I used to bring it to work for lunch, people considered it odd that I’d eat it with a fork and not a spoon. Am I alone in this?) but eating it as I usually do (with a sliced up banana or mango) doesn’t make for very interesting cooking blog fodder, non?
Instead I rendered it into pancakes for my next house guest (mom!) last weekend and it was indeed a delicious, delicious, thing, as reminiscent of the ricotta pancakes we made last year as it was of the flavors in the noodle kugel my mother married my father over. In other words, of course we loved them.
Two years ago: Spiced Vegetable Fritters with Curry-Lime Yogurt
Cottage Cheese Pancakes
The updated recipe now has whole eggs (vs. separated ones) as the pancakes are fluffy, moist and perfect without the extra steps. For a thicker and easier-to-manage pancake, the second half of the milk is only added as needed. They’re still sweet, but much less so (the original level was 1/3 cup and everyone found it too high). The spices, nuts, and dried fruit are now optional, in case you, too, are a cottage cheese pancake purist. I’ve shown them here with dollops of barely-sweetened whipped cream and sliced fresh fruit. If you dismissed these when they came up after you hit the “Surprise me!” button, I hope this is the nudge you need. They’re fantastic.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (not separated, see Note))
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup cottage cheese, full or low-fat
- 1/2 cup milk, any kind, and up to 1/2 cup more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- Optional additions: 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts and/or dried currants; 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and/or a pinch of ground nutmeg
You’re looking for a thick but not dough-like batter; if it seems too stiff, add remaining milk 2 tablespoons at a time until you reach your desired texture.
Heat the frying pan or griddle of your choice to medium and swirl in a pat of butter to evenly coat the pan. Pour pancakes in approximately 3-tablespoon amounts (I use this scoop) and cook until medium golden brown underneath, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is the same color. I usually lower the heat to medium-low while making pancakes so they don’t brown too fast. Repeat with remaining batter.
Heap pancakes with the toppings of your choice and eat right away. If you’re not eating the pancakes right away, you can arrange them on a large baking sheet and keep them warm in a 225-degree oven. These pancakes keep wonderfully for days in the fridge. Rewarm on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes.