Make the best pancakes ever

In memory of Oz restaurateur and food writer Bill Granger who died on Christmas Day, leaving behind a legacy of delicious food

18 January 2024 - 10:37
By Hilary Biller
The late author and chef Bill Granger.
Image: Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images The late author and chef Bill Granger.

Restaurateur, TV personality and cookbook author Bill Granger, by his own admission, didn't train as a chef. Instead, it was his passion for simple but good food that saw the self-taught cook at the tender age of 22 swap his art studies to open his first restaurant, Bill's, in Sydney.

It was here that his scrambled eggs made with cream, lots of it, and the most delicious ricotta pancakes became a phenomenon food lovers hankered after. His breakfast cafe developed a cult, prompting Bill and his wife/business partner Natalie Elliott to take the brand beyond his tiny cafe in a Sydney suburb to 19 restaurants in London, Tokyo, Seoul and many more.

So what relevance is this to South Africans? Bill became a global brand, he'd written a number of best-selling cookbooks that many in this country lapped up. I have two of them — Best of Bill, my fave, and Bill's Italian Food. His TV food shows caught one's attention for his simple take on food and clever use of the finest ingredients, plus a big helping of his youthful good looks that grew his fan base. I enjoyed the way the father of three daughters brought them into his food shows, filmed at home in his kitchen, in such a warm unscripted natural way.

He died in London on Christmas Day aged 54, where the family had moved some years ago. Granger leaves behind a wonderful legacy of food and his ricotta pancakes are one of his many recipes I treasure — and I am sure you will too.

BILL GRANGER'S RICOTTA PANCAKES WITH BANANA AND BUTTER

Once tried you will be a convert for these delectable light and fluffy delicacies

Makes 16

250g fresh ricotta cheese, crumbled (or use a soft cream cheese)

180ml (3/4 cup) milk

4 large eggs, separated

250ml (1 cup) flour

Pinch of salt

5ml (1 tsp) baking powder

Butter to cook

To serve:

Runny honey

2 bananas, sliced 

Whipped cream

1. Place the ricotta, milk and egg yolks in a bowl and mix to combine.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl. Add ricotta mixture and whisk till just combined. The secret is to not overmix.

3. Place egg whites in a clean dry bowl and whisk until you have stiff peaks. In two batches fold egg whites through ricotta mixture using a large metal spoon.

4. Lightly grease a large non-stick frying pan with a small portion of butter. Working in batches — don't cook more than 2-3 pancakes per batch — add 60ml (1/4 cup) batter per pancake to the pan. 

5. Cook over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat the process until you have 16 pancakes.

6. To assemble, stack pancakes on top of each other layering with honey and banana slices as you go. Serve topped with whipped cream and honey drizzled over.


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