I love the taste of bourbon, and I thought a combination of bourbon, maple syrup, and apricots could enhance any sweet breakfast preparation, whether French Toast or pancakes. For this recipe, I combined this syrup with fat ricotta pancakes. The basic recipe is the buttermilk pancake from Joy of Cooking. I added ricotta and a little orange zest to complement but not overpower the syrup. A generous garnish of pistachio nuts modifies the sweetness, and gives a pleasant texture-and color contrast to this preparation. —creamtea
12-14 smallish pancakes
For the Apricot-Bourbon Syrup
good-quality dried California apricots (they should look plump, bright and moist) , measured then coarsely chopped
plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (grade B preferred)
plus 1 teaspoon good-quality bourbon such as Eagle Rare
1 scant tablespoons
For the Pancakes
unsalted butter, melted and browned slightly in the skillet you plan to use for the pancakes (I use a "green" nonstick skillet). Scrape into a small bowl or custard dish and allow to cool slightly
less 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (sift first, measure, then remove 2 tablespoons)
In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the syrup ingredients. Over low heat, bring to a bare simmer. Cover and keep warm while you prepare the pancakes. Add and stir in the scant teaspoon of water if syrup is too thick by serving time.
Sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine beaten eggs, browned butter, buttermilk, orange zest, and ricotta cheese. Whisk to combine thoroughly.
Heat skillet on medium to medium-high heat with a few drops of canola or other oil, until a few drops of water sprinkled into the skillet with your fingers skitter and sizzle.
When skillet is hot, quickly combine wet and dry ingredients in the large bowl. Stir swiftly but as minimally as possibly until just combined for a tender final product.
With a soup ladle or cooking spoon, scoop up batter and drop dollops into pan to make approximately 4" cakes; don't crowd pan.
Cook until bubbles form on top of cakes, a little less than standard pancakes (the bubble's needn't "pop" but all pancakes should have stationary bubbles). Turn one at a time with pancake turner. Brown second side (a little less time than for first side).
Continue to cook cakes in batches, adding a small amount of oil as necessary, until all batter is used.
Serve with the warm maple-syrup apricots. Garnish each serving with the pistachios.