Delicious tender pancakes from a pumpkin.
Updated: December 9, 2012 1:15AM
Fall weekday mornings are irksome. Slow to rise in the chilly darkness of an early daybreak, we struggle through the dreary daily ritual while the evidence of the first frosts of the season are still present on the grass and our surviving summer blooms.
But as for fall weekend mornings — they are something special.
Rousing after dawn, we are greeted with the warm autumn sun burning through the tangles of orange and rust wavering high up on the lush tops of the maple behemoths.
While the weather might be brisk, there is a certain coziness to it, making it seem not at all as dismal as the 6 a.m. workdays. It’s pleasant to sit in the sunlight, soaking up the essence that is sweater weather and experiencing the true nature of autumn.
Days like these make memories. It’s natural to want to complement them with a mix of harvest flavors. Warming spices and cold-weather constituents make delicious additions to lunches and suppers, so why not start a lovely autumn weekend with them, too?
A plate of pumpkin pancakes fits into that weekend scenario perfectly.
The deep rich flavors of the pumpkin, toasted until barely crisp on the griddle are quite satisfying. Add to that a smattering of a honey-cinnamon compound butter, allow it to melt into its own sweet syrup over the hotcakes and your early morning autumn meal can hit the plates.
The one thing this harvest feast is not is a dessert.
Often enough, the lure of the pumpkin ingredient grants the unassuming home chef to integrate grandiose dessert toppings and fillings.
Sure, a whipped cream cheese filling or a buttery pecan streusel might make this recipe a little more enterprising, but sometimes a too-sweet breakfast isn’t as welcoming as one that is simple and refined.
And that’s what this is. Rustic and pure, the only flavors emitted are the pumpkin and spice. Buttermilk, a key ingredient, is a bare whisper of an aroma and is mostly there to fluff up the batter with its levity.
As for the sweetness, it’s there in a natural state: with hardly any effort, 2 tablespoons of honey sweeten the compound butter to eliminate the need for syrup.
Enjoying the sunny autumn weather on a cool Saturday morning with just a cup of coffee is enough to brighten your day, but slipping in a hearty harvest breakfast will certainly be a lovely upgrade.
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
11/4 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
11/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice)
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cups vegetable oil
2/3 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
• Cinnamon compound butter
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
For the pancake batter: Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, pumpkin, oil and egg. Whisk in dry ingredients.
Heat oil on a griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat, or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter onto pan and let cook until bubbles form. Flip with spatula and continue frying until both sides are golden brown. Serve with cold cinnamon butter and syrup, if desired.
For the cinnamon compound butter: Using a fork, blend the honey and spices into the butter. Scrape onto plastic wrap or waxed paper, fold around butter and shape into small log. Refrigerate until hard. Slice into pads spread on pancakes.
Source: Marisa Renwald