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Video: Pumpkin-ricotta pancakes and other brunch ideas

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    >> when it comes to making brunch there are no rules. usually dishes are sweet and savory and that's just what she likes.

    >> now she is sharing some of her favorite brunch ideas in a new cookbook, own your kitchen, recipes to inspire and empower. good to see you.

    >> it's great to be back. i'm very excited to be here to inspire you guys to make pancakes.

    >> especially it's pumpkin picking time.

    >> pumpkin time so we have pumpkin ricotta pancakes and beaten egg whites . al, can you assemble all the dry ingredients?

    >> we have flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon. how about you be my guy.

    >> absolutely.

    >> there you go.

    >> okay.

    >> how did you know that's what we call it?

    >> so we have roasted pump kips.

    >> you've heard of the wet willie , haven't you?

    >> stop it.

    >> i'm sorry.

    >> a little vanilla extract . this is a good brunch.

    >> what does that do for the pancake?

    >> i love ricotta cheese . it gives it a lovely texture. so it's like we're making pumpkin cheesecake pancakes. so it's great at this time of year. it puts a little spin on -- a lot of times you hear lemon ricotta pancakes. i'm owning my kitchen.

    >> yes, you are.

    >> empowering us.

    >> i'm empowering you.

    >> how about you add your wet stuff to al's dry stuff.

    >> hey.

    >> we did that once already.

    >> okay.

    >> all right.

    >> but the reason we add the wet stuff into the dry stuff is so there's no lumps.

    >> look it up.

    >> i just inspired you guys.

    >> what are you whipping up over here?

    >> these are egg whites and keep things light and airy.

    >> light and airy.

    >> so we have these guys in thirds. we add these in gently. so fold these in.

    >> fold.

    >> so we don't squoosh.

    >> let's move along.

    >> let's start cooking.

    >> so we have our pretty, pretty pancake batter. so we just put them on the buttered griddle.

    >> i see that butter there.

    >> butter. just a little bit just so they don't stick. and then when you see the holes in them that stay open, that's when you know it's time to flip them.

    >> you're not going to use any old syrup on this.

    >> no. no way.

    >> tell us about this stuff.

    >> that's not inspired.

    >> beautiful.

    >> so this is apple raisin compost. it's all fall, all day.

    >> very nice.

    >> and then we have sammys back here.

    >> i love it.

    >> my favorite food, sandwiches. so i make my own bread and then we have some mustard and some mayonnaise and little sour pickles and we cheese it up. we ham it up. toss these guys in the oven.

    >> and you're done.

    >> yes.

    >> done.

    >> meltys already.

    >> they're working.

    >> there we go, melted cheese. put it together and that's what we have.

    >> may ?

    >> please do.

    >> recipes at today.com. always great.

TODAY recipes
updated 10/14/2013 3:20:56 PM ET 2013-10-14T19:20:56

Recipe: Pumpkin-ricotta pancakes with chunky apple-raisin sauce

  • For pancakes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned is okay!)
  • 1 cup homemade ricotta or store-bought
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Unsalted butter as needed
  • Powdered sugar, optional
  • For compote
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice, and tossed with the juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup golden raisins

For the pancakes:
Preheat the oven to 200°F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Make a hole in the center of the flour mixture and add the pumpkin, ricotta, milk, vanilla, and egg yolks and mix gently to combine.

In medium bowl, combine the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Using a mixer or whisk, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks and look very fluffy, like snow drifts.

Using a rubber spatula, scoop 1/3 of the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture and fold to gently combine. Repeat this process 2 more times until all the whites have been added. Do this gently but quickly-the idea is to not squish the air out of the egg whites. This is the secret to keeping the pancakes fluffy!

Place a griddle over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, drop a few pats of butter onto the griddle, once melted, schmear the butter around and wipe up any excess with a paper towel.

Spoon ladlefuls of batter onto the buttered griddle to create 3-inch pancakes. Let the pancakes cook until bubbles appear on the surface, burst, and then stay open-this will take about 5 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook the second side until golden brown. Re-butter the griddle and repeat until all the batter is gone or until everyone is full. Hold the finished pancakes in the warm oven.

For the compote:
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the apples, cider, cinnamon stick, star anise, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer (BTB, RTS), then continue cooking until the liquid has reduced by half.

Add the maple syrup and raisins. Simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and serve spooned over the pancakes, dusted with powdered sugar if desired. Try not to eat too many.

Recipe: Ham, gruyere, and focaccia sammies

  • 1/2 cup cornichons, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • Focaccia bread, cut into 3x5-inch rectangles, each rectangle cut in half equatorially through the bready middle (you should have 4 rectangles each with a top and bottom)
  • 1/2 pound gruyere cheese, sliced
  • 1/2 pound ham, thinly sliced

Preheat the broiler.

In a small bowl, combine the cornichons, Dijon mustard, and mayo. Spread the inside of each piece of the focaccia with the cornichon mixture. Be sure each piece is very evenly coated.

Lay 2 pieces of gruyere on each piece of focaccia. Transfer the focaccias to a baking sheet and place in the broiler. Cook until the cheese gets really nice and melty, 4 to 5 minutes total.

Remove from the broiler and crinkle 2 pieces of ham on the bottom half of each piece of foccacia in a fluffly, even layer. Return the sammies to the broiler for another minute or until the ham is warm but not crusty.

Remove the sammies from the oven, place the tops on the bottoms, and press firmly to secure. Cut in half on the bias and serve hot.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

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