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Pumpkin-Ricotta Pancakes with Spicy Apple-Cider Caramel Sauce

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 10 min (includes straining and resting time)
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Spicy Apple-Cider Caramel Sauce:

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup apple juice 

4 cloves 

2 cinnamon sticks 

2 star anise

One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped 

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 

1 tablespoon apple schnapps 

Pumpkin-Ricotta Pancakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 

1 tablespoon granulated sugar 

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger 

2 large eggs 

1 1/2 cups buttermilk 

3/4 cup ricotta, drained for 1 hour in a strainer set over a bowl 

1/2 cup pumpkin puree 

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus melted butter or nonstick spray for the griddle

3/4 cup creme fraiche, for serving


  1. For the caramel sauce: Combine the cream, apple juice, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, ginger and nutmeg in a medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep for at least 20 minutes. Set aside and keep warm while you make the caramel.
  2. Combine the sugar, 1/2 cup water, and the cider vinegar in a medium saucepan over high heat, and cook without stirring until it reaches a deep amber color, about 8 minutes. Slowly strain in the warm cream, whisking constantly; continue whisking until smooth. (Be careful! The caramel will bubble up as you add the cream.) Whisk in the apple schnapps and cook for 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. (The sauce can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Reheat over low heat before serving.)
  3. For the pancakes: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Place a baking sheet with a rack in the oven to heat.
  4. Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger in a large bowl.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, ricotta, pumpkin and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and whisk until just combined; do not overmix. Let the batter sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  6. Heat a large nonstick pan or griddle over medium-low heat. Brush with melted butter or spray with nonstick spray. Drop a scant 1/4 cup of the batter onto the pan; cook until small bubbles form on the surface and at the edges and the bottom is lightly golden brown, about 3 minutes. (Adjust the heat if the bottom browns too quickly.) Flip, and continue cooking until golden brown on the reverse side, another 2 or 3 minutes. Remove to the rack in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.
  7. Serve the pancakes with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a dollop of creme fraiche.
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