One of my strongest childhood memories is waking up to the smell of pancakes. My Mum used to make them to order for my brother & I on the weekends. We'd sit at the counter while she made them and served them directly onto our plates - one for me and then one for my brother. Still to this day I find it hard to warm them in the oven and then eat them. They really do taste better direct from the pan onto the plate and into your mouth. Our poor Mum would sneak one in if she got the chance in between my brother and I scoffing them down. The beauty of my mother's pancakes was that she made a real variety although more often than not she made crepes. My mother's favourite was Crepe Suzette but my brother and I loved a variety of toppings on ours. Occasionally we'd have maple syrup (but we're talking about the 80s and that was an item of luxury) but more often than not we'd have lemon & sugar, honey & my favourite, my mother's homemade apple sauce. I know most people don't get the apple sauce on pancake thing but in our family it was a tradition - maybe it was my Mum's German heritage as I later discovered Germans also like to put apple sauce on their crepes & Kartoffelpuffer (potato-style pancake).
Every now and again my mother would make us our real treat pancakes - cottage cheese pancakes. They were devine. My Mum got them really crispy & thick and my attempt & photos (below) haven't done hers justice. It was my first attempt and without a recipe not so bad. They at least curbed my craving. Essentially the cottage cheese give an interesting texture and makes a lovely moist pancake. I love biting into the cottage cheese pancake as the slight saltiness of the cottage cheese against the sweetness of the apple sauce creates an explosion of sweet & salt in your mouth. I love that combination - I guess that's why I love salted caramel or salted chocolate. I didn't separate the egg whites which may in retrospect have worked better and helped to create a fluffier, thicker pancake. In any case, the highlight of this dish is the topping. You need to make your own fresh apple sauce - it only takes around 15-20 mins and boy does it make a difference to spoon it warm onto the pancakes and top it off with a little maple syrup. These pancakes are about comfort & good eating and not about style - so let that apple sauce dribble all over the place :)
This is what I did for the cottage cheese pancakes (like I said I just created it so perhaps separating the eggs would achieve a fluffier pancake)
4 organic eggs
1/2 cup organic flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1/2 cup of cottage cheese (use the full fat lumpy variety - not the smooth variety as this ruins the texture & end result) - I enjoy smooth ricotta pancakes as well but this recipe calls for the lumpy cottage cheese for its uniqueness)
Beat the eggs & vanilla essence and slowly whisk in the flour ensuring there are no lumps and beat to a smooth consistency. Let sit for around 10-15 mins and then gently add the cottage cheese and mix through the batter.
In a hot pan, add some butter and fry the pancakes being careful to keep the batter an even shape.
For the Apple Sauce
6 apples (whatever is good & in season) - I used granny smiths because I got them on special and they generally cook up well. Cut into thinnish slices.
1 vanilla pod (de seeded)
5-6 cloves (fish out after cooking)
Add some mixed spice, nutmeg & cinnamon or any spices that go well with poached fruits)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Add a bit of water to the apples and gently cook- the smell in your kitchen will be amazing. When the apples are soft, take from heat and use a stab mixer to slightly puree - you can leave the apples as they are - some of the pieces will break up and create a puree anyway. I occasionally leave the apples as they are and sometimes I'll puree so it's really a personal preference.