Bourbon, maple syrup, and apricots enhance fat ricotta pancakes. The point of departure are the buttermilk pancakes from Joy of Cooking; I added ricotta and a little orange zest. A generous garnish of pistachio nuts adds textural contrast. —creamtea
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: creamtea has been a member since October 2010. Happy (more than) 6 year membership-versary!
WHAT: Fluffy pancakes topped with nutty brown butter and boozy apricot syrup.
HOW: Make the syrup—which is easy as warming all the ingredients to a saucepan—and then whisk together a buttermilk-ricotta pancake batter. After you cook the cakes, top with the warm apricot syrup and chopped pistachios.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Incredibly light, orangey pancakes with a punchy syrup you can make year-round thanks to dried, rather than fresh, apricots. —The Editors
12-14 small pancakes
For the apricot-bourbon syrup:
good-quality dried California apricots (they should look plump, bright and moist), coarsely chopped
plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (grade B or "very dark" 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 the 2 tablespoons)
fine sea salt
sugar (organic preferred)
freshly grated orange zest
ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
Shelled, chopped pistachio nuts as a garnish, if desired
In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the syrup ingredients. Over low heat, bring to a bare simmer. Turn off heat and cover to keep warm while you prepare the pancakes. Add and stir in the scant teaspoon of water and re-heat slightly if syrup is too thick or too cool 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 safflower or other neutral high-heat oil, until a few drops of water sprinkled into the skillet 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 inch 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 the 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 apricot syrup. Garnish each serving with the pistachios.