Make the sourdough starter: Warm the milk in a small saucepan over low heat to about 110 degrees F. Transfer to a medium bowl, sprinkle with the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the cider, brown sugar, butter and 1 cup flour until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight.
The next morning, make the pancakes: Whisk 1/2 cup flour, the egg, baking soda and apple into the sourdough starter. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a cast-iron griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook until the tops are bubbly and the edges set, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook until golden and cooked through, 1 to 2 more minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more butter as needed. Drizzle with syrup and garnish with pecans, if desired.
Photograph by Kana Okada
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine