These, along with pies and cakes, muffins and breads, will be welcomed in my home as we travel the calendar into the holidays, to the winter solstice and on to a new year. But one special dish--an ultimate comfort food--comes first.
PUMPKINS AND PANCAKES
We'd gather around the table like baby birds, waiting our turns. Hot stacks piled onto our plates as they got done, never one by one, so you'd have enough to pile together with butter pats. We buttered them up and ate them down with Steen's Cane Syrup--thick, dark and smoky flavored--or a lighter syrup my mother made with maple extract added to simple syrup.
The ettiquete was to use your knife to cut the stack into eight triangular wedges and load as much as you could get onto your fork. The fork became a mop and the hotcakes became hot, tender butter-and-syrup delivery devices. Wow.
Mamma's hotcakes were always pristine and plain. No blueberries or pecans, no bananas or walnuts. But I remember my grandma making us pink and blue and green hotcakes at Eastertime. They didn't taste any different, but they were crazy fun.
I would have found these incredibly exotic in my childhood, even as I do today. They are the deep old gold of spectacular winter sunsets. Spice aromas capture you the minute you begin to mix the batter and the hot griddle instantly careens the smell throughout the house. No one will sleep through breakfast when you make these. I find I close my eyes and breathe these long before I get to taste them. Once I finally get a butter-drenched pumpkin-butter-slathered bite, my tastebuds rise up to meet the flavors on a cloud of weightlessness.
Many recipes for pumpkin pancakes are dense and heavy from the added pulp. Leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda are too wan to carry pumpkin up to the lightness a pancake deserves. The secret is to beat the egg whites and delicately fold them in to assist with the rise. This batter, as a matter of fact, is very similar to an airy roulade recipe, frothy and tender. The pancakes must be baked quickly or the egg white advantage deflates. The optional sprinkle of pumpkin seeds gives a satisfying counterpoint. If you're not fond of pumpkin seeds, try my favorite chopped and toasted pecans, which is not to say that they aren't perfect without nuts of any kind.
•1 cup buttermilk
•1/2 cup fresh cooked pumpkin or canned pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
•3 large eggs, separated, room temperature
•1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
•2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
•1 cup flour
•1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg
•1/2 teaspoon baking soda
•1 teaspoon baking powder
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•Vegetable oil, butter or non-stick spray for the griddle
•1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, optional
Whisk buttermilk, pumpkin, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend; whisk in melted butter. Sift flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Add dry ingredients to buttermilk mixture and whisk to combine. Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold whites into batter.
Lightly oil or butter heavy large skillet set over medium heat. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto skillet. Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds on each pancake and cook until bubbles form on top, about one-and-a half minutes. Turn pancakes over and cook until second sides brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to plates. Sprinkle with nuts. Serve with Rum Pumpkin Butter and maple syrup.
Rum Pumpkin Butter
•1 cup fresh cooked pumpkin or canned pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
•1/2 cup orange juice or apple cider
•1/2 cup brown sugar
•1/4 cup butter
•1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1 tablespoon dark rum, optional
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 - 20 minutes or until blended, stirring frequently. Add more orange juice or cider if mixture is too thick.
All text and images copyright 2010 Theresa Rice
If you enjoyed this post, please consider making a comment