Recipe Sleuth: Co Co. Sala’s Hotcake Obsession

Looking for an alternative to your regular Sunday pancakes? Try these ricotta flapjacks, which have a light citrus tang and a fruity topping.

Co Co. Sala's dessert-like breakfast marries pancakes with a soufflé. Photograph courtesy of the restaurant.

Though it’s primarily known as a chocolate haven that attracts night owls looking for a buzz and a sugar fix, Co Co. Sala also offers one of the best hangover remedies: brunch.

At the sexy Penn Quarter lounge, chef Santosh Tiptur serves what he calls a Hotcake Obsession, two airy citrus-ricotta pancakes—one of the most popular items on the brunch menu. But they’re not your grandmother’s pancakes. One side of the cakes is cooked on a griddle, then they’re finished in the oven.  “It’s more of a cross between a sponge cake and a sweet-cheese soufflé,” says Tiptur.

Also, there’s no butter or syrup. As an alternative, these flapjacks get a drizzle of caramel-passionfruit sauce and are served with a blueberry compote and lemon cream.

Too hungover to make it to the restaurant for brunch? If you can muster the energy, you can obsess over these hotcakes from the comfort of your own home. But make sure your griddle isn’t too hot, says Tiptur, because the batter is delicate and will burn quickly. And be sure to use the batter right away, or else you’ll end up with deflated pancakes.

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Co Co. Sala’s Hotcake Obsession

Makes 12 hotcakes.

Make the caramel-passionfruit sauce:

2 cups sugar
½ cup water
4 cups passionfruit purée
12 ounces butter, softened

In a heavy-bottom pot set over medium heat, cook the sugar and water mixture until it reaches a very light amber color. Deglaze the pan with passionfruit purée and whisk briskly. Bring the mixture to room temperature and whisk in the soft butter. Set aside.

Make the blueberry compote:

½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 cinnamon stick
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
1 pint strawberries, diced
1 pint blueberries
Pinch salt

In a heavy-bottom pot set over medium heat, stir together the sugar and water and let cook until it reaches a very light amber color. Add the vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and lemon and orange zests. Add the berries and a pinch of salt to the hot syrup, and mix together until it’s uniformly combined. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Make the lemon cream:

2⁄3 cup lemon juice
6 lemons, zested
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 quart mascarpone cheese

In a large pot set over medium-high heat, bring the lemon juice and zest to a boil. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with sugar until they’re light in color. Add a small amount of the hot juice to the eggs, whisking constantly, then add the remaining juice and continue whisking so as not to scramble the eggs. Cool to room temperature. Using a mixer (a burr mixer if you have it), beat the softened butter into the lemon/egg to make a lemon curd. Place the lemon curd and mascarpone cheese in a blender and blend on high until it’s creamy and thoroughly combined. Keep the lemon cream chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Make the citrus-ricotta pancakes:

24 egg yolks
5 cups granulated sugar, divided in half
6 cups ricotta cheese at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon salt
2 vanilla-bean pods, scraped (save the pods for another use)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 cups butter, clarified and melted, plus more for greasing the pan
32 ounces egg whites

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar until light in color (ribbon stage). In another large bowl, mix together the ricotta, flour, salt, vanilla bean, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and orange zest. Carefully fold the egg yolks and butter into the ricotta mixture. In a mixer, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar to soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter, but be careful not to deflate it. Use the batter immediately.
Grease a frying pan with clarified butter. Portion an 8-inch round of batter into the pan and cook on medium heat until slightly brown on the bottom, but do not flip. Finish baking each hotcake in the oven for about 6 minutes. Serve immediately.

To serve:

Serve two hotcakes per person with ½ cup of blueberry compote, 1⁄3 cup lemon cream, and a drizzle of caramel-passionfruit sauce.

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