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Melissa King Shares Her "Next Level" Spring Brunch Recipe

"For a chef, spring is such an inspiring time," the Bravo's Top Chef winner said. 

By Abby Feiner

For Melissa King, the arrival of spring means new and exciting opportunities to get creative in the kitchen. "For a chef, spring is such an inspiring time," the Bravo's Top Chef Season 17 winner said in the video below. 

To put a seasonal twist on one of her go-to brunch dishes (get the full recipe below), Melissa incorporated a specific beverage in order to add flavors that reminded her of spring. "When I first opened the new Starbucks® Spring Day Blend, the rich aroma gave me an idea: Dutch pancakes with coffee syrup," she explained. "The coffee makes the syrup really lively, brings it to the next level."

One of the most exciting elements of spring cooking for Melissa is the ability to incorporate particular fruits, vegetables, and herbs that she might not otherwise use in colder seasons. 

"Using fresh spring ingredients makes the biggest difference," she said. "For the compote, I used strawberries and star anise for an Asian twist."

After adding fresh garnishes to the Dutch pancake as well as topping it with a coffee syrup made from Starbucks ® Spring Day Blend and brown sugar, the dish "really looks like it's blooming," Melissa declared. "Kind of like everything else in spring."

To complement the gorgeous meal, Melissa served it atop the most stunning tablescape featuring bright hues and eye-catching flowers. "When it comes to setting a spring table, you really want to add a lot of vibrant colors," she said. "Try to mix and match and keep it really eclectic and fun. Food tastes better when you eat it in a beautiful setting!

Scroll down for a full step-by-step guide to making Melissa's Dutch pancakes with star anise strawberries, ricotta, and coffee syrup!

Melissa King Shows How to Make the Perfect Spring Brunch

Dutch Pancakes with Star Anise Strawberries, Ricotta, and Coffee Syrup

Yield: 1 large pancake, 2 to 4 servings


For the pancake:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • Fresh strawberries, husks removed, quartered or sliced, for serving
  • Fresh ricotta, for serving

For the strawberry compote:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, husks removed, quartered
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 2 tablespoons water

For the coffee syrup:


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F for about 30 minutes. Place a cast-iron skillet (or oven-safe wide sauté pan) in the oven during the preheat while you prepare the batter, compote, and syrup. It is very important that the cast iron skillet and the oven are extremely hot before beginning the recipe to ensure a proper soufflé effect.
  2. Place brewed Starbucks ® Spring Day Blend and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until reduced to a maple syrup consistency, about 10 minutes. Spoon a small amount onto a cold plate to test the consistency when the syrup has cooled. Remove from heat and set aside for serving. Coffee syrup can be completed days before and placed in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks
  3. Place strawberries, sugar, vanilla, star anise pods, and water into a small saucepot and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries breakdown into a jam-like consistency, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and discard the star anise pods. Set aside for serving. Compote can be completed days before and placed in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  6. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add milk, eggs, and vanilla extract and whisk until batter is smooth, about 2 minutes. It should resemble a loose pancake batter.
  7. Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and add the cold butter. As the butter melts quickly and coats the bottom of the skillet, immediately add the batter to the skillet. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 16 minutes, until the pancake is puffed and golden brown. Do not open the oven during the cooking process.
  8. Remove the skillet from the oven and immediately serve with strawberry compote, a dollop of ricotta, and a drizzle of coffee syrup. Dust with powdered sugar and additional fresh strawberries if desired.

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