Monday, February 4, 2008

Chocolate Ricotta Pancakes with Hazelnut Sauce

Melted butter, to grease
Double cream, to serve
3 1/2 oz hazelnuts

Chocolate ricotta pancakes
2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups smooth ricotta
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs, separated

Hazelnut sauce
7 oz good-quality dark cooking chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup thin cream
8 oz Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
1/4 cup Frangelico liqueur

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread the hazelnuts over a baking tray. Cook for 10 minutes or until toasted. Remove from oven. Reduce heat to 225 F. Place hazelnuts on a clean tea towel and rub to remove skins. Coarsely chop.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, place chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Cook, stirring, until the chocolate melts. Add the Nutella and Frangelico and stir until heated through. Transfer to a jug. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce and set aside until required.
To make the pancakes, sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add sugar and make a well in the centre. Whisk the ricotta, milk and egg yolks together in a bowl. Add the ricotta mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes to rest.
Use an electric beater to whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the pancake batter.
Brush a non-stick frying pan with a little of the melted butter to lightly grease and heat over medium heat. Pour two 1/4-cup quantities of batter into the pan, allowing room for spreading. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until bubbles appear on surface and pancakes are golden underneath. Turn and cook for a further 1 minute or until golden. Transfer to a heatproof plate and loosely cover with foil. Place in oven to keep warm. Repeat, in 8 more batches, with remaining melted butter and batter, reheating the pan between batches.
Divide the pancakes among serving plates. Top with double cream and drizzle with hazelnut sauce. Sprinkle with hazelnuts to serve.

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