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Author Notes: 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
Makes 12-14 smallish pancakes
For the Apricot-Bourbon Syrup
- 3/4 cup good-quality dried California apricots (they should look plump, bright and moist) , measured then coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (grade B preferred)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon good-quality bourbon such as Eagle Rare
- 1 scant tablespoons water
For the Pancakes
- 2 tablespoons 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
- 1-1/2 cups less 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (sift first, measure, then remove 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar (organic preferred)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
- 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.