Karen Barnes’ Ricotta Pancakes with Spiced Pear and Bacon Butter

This is the birthday week of Tom's Food! Like any foundling, the exact date is uncertain. Never mind. To celebrate, Tom Cooks! has as promised brought you a celebrity packed issue. I asked some star names for recipes and we have not one but two today. While I usually do something around Shrove Tuesday (February 16 this year), I can't pretend my heart is in it. Whisper it, but pancakes generally don't do much for me. I make a massive exception for today's offering from Karen Barnes, editorial director of delicious. magazine. More about Karen and delicious. (note the lower case and the full stop in the title) later, but I'll let Karen introduce her own recipe. Note that these will give you smaller, American style pancakes, not the thinner crepes which we tend to make.

I love Shrove Tuesday, and in a year where all the days appear to be merging into one, Pancake Day 2021 feels like a major event to look forward to. Simple pancakes with a dusting of caster sugar and squeeze of lemon are a delight, but if you fancy trying something different, here’s one of my favourite delicious. magazine recipes. The pancakes are lightened to fluffy perfection with ricotta and whisked egg whites, then served with salty-savoury crispy bacon and aromatic spiced pears. The combination might sound unusual – it is – but it’s nothing short of sublime.

Serve for breakfast, brunch or Pancake Day – or, show how much you care with a surprise breakfast in bed on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.

(Couldn't have put it better myself, but hold the breakfast in bed, thanks. - Ed)

Ricotta pancakes with spiced pear and bacon butter (Serves 2)


For the pancakes

60g self-raising flour; ¼ tsp baking powder; large pinch ground cinnamon; 2 medium free-range eggs, separated; 25g butter, melted, plus extra for frying; 75ml low-fat natural yogurt; 75g ricotta; ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (optional); salt.

For the spiced pear and bacon butter

25g unsalted butter, plus extra to taste; 1 pear, cored and sliced into wedges; 4 smoked free-range streaky bacon rashers; 1 star anise; pinch ground cinnamon; few dashes Tabasco sauce; maple syrup to drizzle (optional)


Stir the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. In a jug, whisk the egg yolks, melted butter and yogurt. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, then pour in the egg mixture and whisk briefly to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Using a large metal spoon or spatula, fold the whites into the pancake batter, then mix in the ricotta and vanilla.

Melt a small knob of butter in a frying pan, add 2 - 3 dessertspoonfuls of batter per pancake and fry, in batches, for 3 - 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the cooked pancakes to a plate, cover with foil and keep warm, then continue with the remaining batter. (You can make the pancakes in advance - see below.)

For the spiced pear and bacon butter, heat 25g of the butter in a separate frying pan and fry the pear wedges until just golden. Remove from the pan and keep warm with the pancakes. Add the bacon and star anise to the pan, increase the heat and fry until the bacon is crisp. Add a little extra butter, if needed, then stir in the cinnamon. Add Tabasco to taste.

Stack the warm pancakes on 2  plates, add the bacon and pears, then pour over the spiced butter from the pan and drizzle with maple syrup, if you like.

If you wish you can make the pancakes the day before, cool and store in an airtight container. To serve, make the butter, then warm the pancakes in the toaster for 1-2 minutes.

I have known the very lovely Karen Barnes for a little while now. There are a number of food magazines out there. delicious. is by far the best of them. To quote Karen, it is a monthly food magazine packed with inspirational tested recipes, news, food and drink shopping guides, expert know-how and fascinating features about chefs, health, travel and the world of food. For a half-price offer, click here.

You see the good things that reading Tom's Food! can do for you? Very many thanks to Karen and all her team.



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