Rainy Fall Morning, Pumpkin Pancakes

It is actually a snowy Fall morning now. The forecast warned me, I didn’t want to believe it, but it sure is coming down out there. Anyway, when I woke up this morning it was rainy and the perfect morning for pancakes. 

As soon as Fall comes round, I develop an insatiable appetite for all things pumpkin. My desire for pumpkiny, cinnamony, spiced things is a year-round obsession, but it is heightened in the Fall, the mother season. In the Fall of my sophomore year of college, I was tipped off to the existence of pumpkin pancakes. Crazy, I know, but that marvelous creation had never crossed my mind before. College was doing a Grade A job of expanding my horizons. I spent that Fall futilely in search of the fabled breakfast treat. I have had them since, and they are magical. Golden orange cinnamon burst in your mouth. Thank you, Original Pancake House of West Caldwell, NJ. However, I have always spoken of them, planning on making them, waiting for the perfect morning to do so. A morning with the right combination of laziness, wakefulness, and willingness to wash the dishes afterwards, all with a quintessential Autumnal feel. I have put it off, saving myself for a day I knew would come. It arrived today. 

Having read many pumpkin pancake recipes in preparation for when this fated day would come, I new that it included an additional step that most regular pancakes do not: beating egg whites to fold into the batter. Doing so gives these special griddle cakes a light, fluffy, delicate texture. I was worried because I do not have an electric hand-mixer, nor do I have the arm power to whisk egg whites into stiff peaks by hand. Oh, I long for the day when I become the owner of a Kitchenaid standing electric mixer! Lucky for me, Michael bought himself a food processor last year (which is a great tool to have). I whipped the whites in there for a few minutes. While it did not form those ideal, meringue-y peaks, it got the job done. Splendid.

The only other tweak to the original recipe I made was not using a pre-fab “pumpkin pie spice.” When I make pumpkin pies and other pumpkin spice baked goods, I prefer to measure out my cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice etc. to my liking. Today I used 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Kept it simple to let the pumpkin be star. 

Pumpkin Pancakes
Makes about 6 medium-sized pancakes.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon complimentary spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves. I used cinnamon and nutmeg only.
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, I used the 2% we have currently.
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, make it a generous 1/2 teaspoon.

1. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together the milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, melted butter, and vanilla extract until smooth.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon to stir until it just comes together.
4. In another separate bowl, beat the egg whites until thick and stiff. A food processor works nicely.
5. Gently fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture, being careful not to over-mix.
6. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan (I used cast iron) over medium heat and grease with butter.
7. Using a 1/3 cup measure to ladle into the pan, cook each pancake until lightly browned on each side.

They’re that easy! Of course, as I am not the expertly adept chef I fancy myself to be, not all my pancakes come out perfectly. There is always the one flubbed flip. 

Enjoy your short stack with a glass of apple cider (or OJ if you’re a weirdo who doesn’t like cider) for a simple yet special Fall breakfast. 

Now that it’s snowing it doesn’t quite seem Autumnal anymore. It’s October for crying out loud! I know retailers always start pushing Christmas this early each year, but you, Mother Nature?! Alas! I will, as I always do, hold fast to Fall.


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