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Fail-Safe Spinach and Ricotta Hotcakes

Karen Martini’s Ricotta Hotcake Recipe


Karen Martini

**This giveaway is provided by The Dairy Kitchen. I was a guest at the Legendairy and The Dairy Kitchen event discussed below and received a copy of Feasting.  The opinions are my own.

A couple of weekends ago I was invited to bring my 8 year old to an event hosted by Legendairy Ambassador Karen Martini. The event was a cooking workshop providing tips and inspiration for cooking with milk. I was not going to attend as I am dairy intolerant but we decided it would be a fun activity to do together. The event provided me with some new information about lactose intolerance, recommended daily dairy intake and a great new recipe. Not to mention the opportunity to meet Karen, which was a highlight for both of us. We were already fans of her work, but I can say that has been raised a level !!

Karen demonstrated some of her recipes and then it was time for the mums and kids to get creative and make their version of Karen’s ricotta hotcakes. We all selected our chosen toppings for the hotcakes from an array of savoury and sweet plates.

The two images below were taken by the event photographer CBD Photography

These are the hotcakes we made at the event. My son was keen to use salami and olives to serve with our hotcakes and Karen loved them. As a result we won a big hamper of glorious cheeses, a book and one of Karen’s Raco saucepans. My son was thrilled to win and needless to say we have been eating hotcakes regularly ever since!

Karen_Martini_event_winner hotcakes

Cooking hotcakes - Legendairy(photo credit: CBD Photography)

The event provided me with the opportunity to ask the Dairy Australia Dietitian for some information that I have been wanting to get clarity on for some time. In my circumstance, if I eat (or drink) milk, cream or ice cream they cause a bad reaction that has me confined to the bathroom for hours and feeling unwell for a day. As a result I obviously avoid these ingredients in my diet. The rest of my family have no intolerance therefore I do use regular milk generally in anything I make for them that I am not going to be eating.  I substitute with a non-dairy equivalent if I will be eating the food. Thankfully I can eat cheese as I adore it.

The advice provided by the Dairy Australia Dietitian is fascinating so I thought I’d share it with you. **Please seek your own advice from a doctor and dietitian if you suffer a food intolerance.

The amount of lactose that can be tolerated will vary significantly between people. While some might be able to tolerate up to a glass of milk at a time, others may have more success with two smaller serves spread across the day. People diagnosed with lactose intolerance need to work out their own threshold. Try these tips:

  • Build up your tolerance – start small and gradually increase your milk intake.
  • Drink milk with other food, rather than on an empty stomach.
  • Regular (or whole) milk may be better tolerated than low-fat or skim milk.

Dairy products contain varying amounts of lactose. In fact, many dairy foods contain very low lactose levels. Yoghurt with live active cultures, for example, is lower in lactose and is generally easily digested thanks to its probiotic bacteria, which help to break down lactose, and most cheeses are very low in lactose, especially harder varieties like cheddar, which contain virtually zero.

Dairy food Lactose content (g)
Regular milk, 250mL 11.8
Cheddar cheese, 40g 0.0
Swiss style cheese, 40g 0.1
Parmesan cheese, 40g 0.1
Brie, 40g 0.1
Ricotta cheese, 20g 0.24
Cream cheese, 22g 0.6
Yogurt (natural), 200g 9.4*
Ice cream, 50g 2.8
Butter, 18g (1 tblspn) 0.1
Cream, 20g (1 tblspn) 0.6

It is recommended that children aged 4-8 have 2 serves of dairy per day and that adults have 2 serves per day. For women this increases to 4 serves from 51 years of age. * I am really pleased to have found this out as I will need to better manage my intake to ensure I am getting adequate nutrients provided by dairy such as calcium, potassium and protein.

A serve of dairy is one cup of milk (250 ml) or two slices of cheese (40 grams), 200 grams of yoghurt.*

Karen Martini’s recipe for Ricotta Hotcakes

Mr Fresh makes the family pancakes every Sunday for breakfast so we are pretty familiar with that process. We usually enjoy either apple, or banana laden ones served with maple syrup.

Karen explained to my son that it is the raising agent that is the difference between hotcakes and pancakes. I love the light, fluffy nature of these hotcakes and the addition of the ricotta gives them a wonderful texture. Since the event, I have had a chance to make them a number of times and I can  say with confidence that Karen’s recipe is fool-proof! It is a fail safe recipe.  I have made them using 1/2 rye flour because I ran out of plain flour, with various non dairy based milks as well as regular milk. We have served them with fruit, and we loved the spinach version that is outlined in the notes of the recipe below.  These hotcakes are a great after-school snack for the kids to keep them going until dinner time.

*Leave out the sugar when making a savoury version.

Karen Martini’s Ricotta Hotcake Recipe is published here with permission.

Fail-Safe Spinach and Ricotta Hotcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A fail safe recipe for fluffy, light hotcakes that can be adapted to include savoury or sweet ingredients. See the notes below for recipe variations including the spinach and ricotta version
Serves: 6-8
  • 180 grams of plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons castor sugar (leave out for savoury hotcakes)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 375 ml milk
  • 150 grams ricotta
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • plus butter or oil for cooking
  1. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl
  2. Add the milk, ricotta, eggs and melted butter to another bowl and combine.
  3. Add the mild mix to the dry ingredients and combine until you have a batter - there may be lumps from the ricotta, but ensure that the flour is incorporated
  4. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and add a knob of butter. Once melted, ladle in about ½ cup of batter and cook for around 2 minutes until it starts bubbling on the top, a little like a crumpet
  5. Once the hotcake is almost cooked, flip and cook for just 30 seconds on the second side. Set aside and repeat for the remaining batter.
  6. Serve with your favourite toppings.
Event variation:
3 pieces mild salami
handful of cherry tomatoes
8 olives - sliced
fetta cheese
fresh basil leaves
fresh spinach leaves
Use all ingredients to top the plain Ricotta hotcakes

Spinach and Ricotta Version:
Leave out the sugar
Add 100 grams of spinach and whiz in a food processor
75 grams Gruyere Cheese
fresh mint leaves and lemon to serve
Add the spinach to the batter mixture and serve with remaining ingredients

Spinach Ricotta Hotcakes

Win one of two copies of Feasting by Karen Martini

Thanks to The Dairy Kitchen I have two copies of Karen’s 3rd cookbook Feasting to give away. I love this book, it is set to become my go-to recipe book for entertaining. It includes 23 beautiful menus for every occasion type you could possibly think of. Besides the large variety of recipes, the thing I most love is that they are not complex, fussy recipes. The recipes are for food that you will want to cook all the time – not just when you have guests.


Competition commences Tuesday 24/05/2016 and ends 5 pm Tuesday 31st May. Open to Australian residents only.
To enter submit your response to the question in the comments below. This is a game of skill. The best two answers will be selected by me to win a copy of Karen’s book. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase is necessary.

The winners will be notified via email on Wednesday 1 June and must respond within 24 hours or a new winner(s) will be selected.

Prize value: $31 each. The prize will be sent to the winner from The Dairy Kitchen.

For your chance to win one of two copies of Feasting please tell me in the comments below:

What topping would you choose to add to your hotcakes? (CLOSED) .

Karen Martini - feasting giveaway

Good luck. I look forward to hearing what toppings you prefer.

*Reference: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-adults


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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Emily May 25, 2016, 9:41 am

    For sweet pancakes, I love adding either honey mascarpone cheese with a berry compote and walnuts or caramelized bananas with espresso butter and pistachios.

    For savoury pancakes, I would top them with a poached egg, crispy bacon and tomato salsa.

    PS: If you have not had espresso butter before you definitely should. It is AMAZING!

  • The Dairy Kitchen May 25, 2016, 10:41 am

    Congrats on your champion hotcakes Kyrstie! Glad you ended up deciding to come and that you picked up some useful tips from Glenys our dietitian! Those Spinach hotcakes with gruyere look phenomenal!!

  • Gillian May 25, 2016, 12:51 pm

    what an awesome opportunity to meet Karen and to cook the pancakes with your son. Congratulations on your win. I love the idea of ricotta added to the pancakes – I am always looking for ideas to use ricotta since I make my own feta, haloumi and of course ricotta. I love hotcakes with peanut butter, sliced banana and a drizzle of honey. Of course Elvis would have added bacon, but I dont go that far!

  • Liz Posmyk (Good Things) May 26, 2016, 11:43 am

    What a fun class, Kyrstie… and a delicious recipe x

  • Holly G May 26, 2016, 12:09 pm

    I have never thought to make savoury pancakes or hotcakes. I am a huge fan of ricotta pancakes with grilled banana and honey. But I think making savoury would fill me up longer as could add english spinach, cheese, sundries tomatoes and maybe top with some fried mushrooms – hmmm you’ve got me thinking now, thank you!

  • Dani @ sand has no home May 26, 2016, 5:18 pm

    I love stewed pear and coconut with raspberries:)

  • Tamzen Temple May 26, 2016, 5:54 pm

    Did someone say hotcakes?. forever and always maple syrup with more hotcakes stacked on top… and bananas.. with possibly cream and more maple syrup and more hotcakes..

  • Sam May 26, 2016, 5:54 pm

    I’d love the savoury version with fresh tomatoes, basil & buffalo mozzarella. Then sprinkled with olive oil & balsamic vinegar – yum!!

  • Janis May 28, 2016, 8:14 pm

    For me, it would definitely be fresh figs with a beautiful Greek yoghurt, topped with a fresh raspberry coulis, and a sprinkle of walnuts. Yum!

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